LAHORE, July 16 (APP): SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) has welcomed the recent meeting of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at Ufa, Russia.
The SAARC chamber leaders, in a joint statement, termed the meeting a positive change in the perception of political leadership of both the countries.
Vice President SAARC CCI Pak chapter Iftikhar Ali Malik, former SAARC CCI presidents Vikramjit Singh Sahney (India) and Anis Ul Haq (Bangladesh) said that willingness expressed publically by both the prime ministers to discuss the core issues, bedeviling bilateral relations, was a positive reflection of their thoughts, which was drastically required to make SAARC as an effective platform.
They said the implementation of SAFTA in letter and spirit was based on the greater political will which had been demonstrated by the both prime ministers.
Former vice presidents of SAARC CCI M. Abul Kashem (Bangladesh), Pradeep Kumar Shrestha (Nepal) and Kosala Wickramanayake (Sri Lanka) also expressed their hope that the forthcoming meeting between the two prime ministers would be turning point in the history of the organization.
They congratulated the political leaders of South Asia for showing more commitment towards implementation of SAFTA, which would help expand economic cooperation and achieving objectives envisioned by SAARC.
Iftikhar Ali Malik said that due to non-cooperation, the region had been paying a huge cost as the both countries could trade goods and services of worth $ 16 billion in recent years, which was only 27% of the potential available.
Strict implementation of SAFTA would help increase intra-SAARC Trade, which was only $1.2 billion under SAFTA rule of origin.