Meeting with Secretary Commerce, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad

The SAARC C CI delegation led by Mr. Suraj Vaidya, President In-charge met Mr. Mohammad Shahzad Arbab, Secretary Ministry of Commerce, and Government of Pakistan on December 8, 2015 at his office.

He briefed about the activities of SAARC CCI and shared action plan for the year 2016. While appreciating the role and services of Pakistan for hosting SAARC CCI since its establishment, he thanked the Government of Pakistan for grant of Rs.240.5 million for the SAARC CCI Permanent Secretariat Building at Islamabad, the construction work of which had already commenced and is likely to be completed by 2017.
 
Mr. Suraj Vaidya, President (In-charge) of SAARC CCI and Mr. Mian Muhammad Idrees, President, FPCCI, presenting SAARC CCI official crest to Mr. Mohammad ShahzadArbab, Secretary Ministry of Commerce, and Government of Pakistan in presence of respected delegates from SAARC countries.

He appreciated the role of Pakistan in SAARC mechanism and hoped for ratification of SATIS in near future. He was of the opinion that Ministry of Commerce should play leading role in implementation of SAFTA. The SAARC CCI President In-charge informed that SAARC CCI is planning to organize the 6th edition of SAARC Business Leaders Conclave on the sideline of the 19th Summit schedule in Pakistan in November 2016 and sought assistance of Ministry of Commerce, Government of Pakistan being the host country. He also requested the Ministry of Commerce to revive SAARC Visa exemption sticker policy for businessmen, under which they were entitled for one year SAARC Visa Exemption sticker, arguing that it was imperative to increase interaction of businessperson to tap economic cooperation in more productive manner. He requested the Ministry of Commerce to approach Interior Ministry, Government of Pakistan who was hosting SAARC Immigration Authorities Meetings in Pakistan for seeking interventions in SAARC Visa Exemption Sticker policy. Mr. Vaidya presented a letter to Commerce Secretary, pertaining to the proposal of SAARC CCI and SAARC Secretariat about launching of SAARC CEO Forum and sought assistance to include the proposal in forthcoming SAFTA Ministerial Meeting. He informed that the same proposal has been referred by SAARC Finance Minister’s moot held in September 2015.

Commerce Secretary welcomed the SAARC CCI delegation and expressed firm commitment to consider the proposals rendered.

Responding to the query of ACCI representatives, the Commerce Secretary informed that Pakistan has taken various measures to address the bilateral trade issues with Afghanistan and to improve trade particularly with neighboring countries. He further informed that Pakistan has reduced number of items in the sensitive list and now maintains about 1200 items, which will be reduced to 100 items under vision 2030, which has been principally accepted by Government of Pakistan.  He applauded the role of SAARC CCI Secretariat at Pakistan and ensured to make smooth process in terms of releasing fund to SAARC CCI Headquarters Building Project.

The SAARC CCI delegation consisted of Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, Vice President (Pakistan), Mr. Shafquat Haider, EC Member (Bangladesh), Mr. Zubair A. Malik, EC Member (Pakistan), Mr. hameed Akhtar Chadda, EC Member (Pakistan), Mr. Mohammad Younas Mohmand, Vice President (Afghanistan), Mr. R B Runair, EC Member (Nepal), Mr. Zia Azizi, SAARC Desk representative, ACCI, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Butt, DSG and Mr. Bader Munir, DS, of SAARC CCI.

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