Pakistan moves to expand trade in region

Pakistan has decided to establish nine new trade missions in Asia, Africa and Europe in order to expand its trade and bolster the export economy. The country's particular focus is on the neighboring countries due to their proximity and cultural affinity, reports WealthPK.

By prioritizing trade expansion within the region, Pakistan aims to tap into the immense potential of intra-Asian trade and leverage the growing economic significance of its neighboring countries.

Talking to WealthPK, Khalid Taimoor Akram, Executive Director at the Pakistan Research Center for a Community with Shared Future (PRCCSF), said, "The decision to establish new trade missions reflects Pakistan's commitment to diversifying its export destinations and tapping into new growth opportunities. Additionally, they will provide valuable market intelligence and support to the Pakistani exporters seeking to expand their presence in the international markets."

"Pakistan's ongoing reforms, focusing on national development and key initiatives, have reaffirmed its unwavering support for the reform agenda, pledging to implement cooperation policies that will lay the foundation for massive investment and rapid growth and development in the neighboring Asian countries and those around the globe.

"The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has played a significant role in enhancing economic cooperation and facilitating trade and investment between the two countries. As the CPEC enters Phase II, both the nations are committed to elevating the corridor, leveraging Pakistan's advantages for progress and sustainable growth," said Khalid.

He emphasized that Pakistan now aimed to pursue a "look towards Asia" approach, focusing on neighbors and development partners in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), including Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. 

Additionally, Pakistan's engagement with the GCC countries reflects its commitment to fostering mutually beneficial partnerships in areas such as trade, investment, and infrastructure development. Iran and Pakistan have decided to increase their trade by about $10 billion. Trade with Afghanistan also offers a lot of prospects.

In addition to expanding trade with neighboring countries, Pakistan is also focused on enhancing its export competitiveness through measures such as trade facilitation, infrastructure development, and investment promotion and is actively promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) to spur industrialization, job creation, and technology transfer, said Khalid. 

Talking to WealthPK, Dr. Sajid Amin, Deputy Executive Director at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said, "Pakistan's trade expansion strategy aligns with broader global trends toward regional economic integration and intra-regional trade cooperation. By prioritizing trade with its neighbors, the country seeks to capitalize on the economic opportunities presented by the burgeoning intra-Asian trade landscape while mitigating the risks associated with reliance on the distant markets."

Sajid said, "Pakistan's focus on trade expansion with neighbors is a pragmatic approach to shore up its export economy and foster sustainable economic growth. They highlight the potential benefits of diversifying the export markets, including increased market access, enhanced competitiveness, and reduced trade costs."

However, he cautioned that achieving a meaningful trade expansion with the neighboring countries will require concerted efforts to address regulatory barriers, infrastructure constraints, and geopolitical challenges.

Sajid emphasized the need for comprehensive policy reforms and diplomatic engagements to facilitate seamless cross-border trade and investment flows.

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