SAARC Chamber stresses urgent need for deeper economic co-operation with China : Ruwan

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Sri Lanka ( News Inspection )The President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) Ruwan Edirisinghe Saturday urged for deeper economic cooperation with China saying that this collaboration will usher in a new era of progress, prosperity, development, economic growth and welfare of the people of the region.

According to a message received here today from Sri Lanka he was talking to leader of pak chapter SAARC chamber delegation Senior Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik currently attending “South Asia Business” meeting in Sri Lanka. Ruwan said their recent visit to China was a great success in term of increasing trade volume among the SAARC states and China. He said the South Asian states to make SAARC a vibrant and viable organisation to reap the advantages of regional connectivity schemes such as China’s One-Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative, which also includes the mega project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and if that happens, the relations of these countries with China will further improve to the benefit of the entire SAARC. He said there is dire need of fostering trade relation with China from collective platform of SAARC instead of developing relation separately.

He said many South Asian countries were entering new relations with China. For one, China has offered generous proposals in the region: CPEC being the much-talked about example in Pakistan. But China is also investing in other countries, including Nepal and Bangladesh. Yet, as of now, China has to deal with these South Asian countries separately, a situation not much beneficial to both SAARC and China. He said while all the South Asian countries were working in the same direction individually why they did not work together.

SAARC CCI President said there is a need for SAARC to learn from the success of ASEAN. He suggests that leaders of SAARC countries meet more often informally, that they interfere less in the internal workings of each other’s governments, and that there be more interaction at every level of government.

Iftikhar Ali Malik appreciating the role and result oriented efforts of Ruwan for making SAARC Chamber more vibrant, said Pakistan seeks greater role of China in SAARC states as China is always keen to support accelerating connectivity to South Asia. He said China has deepened cooperation in trade, investment and agriculture in SAARC since it became an observer in 2006. Chinese investments into South Asia amounted to $60 billion and Chinese loans at concessional rates to South Asia amounted to $40 billion. Besides this, China was giving 10,000 scholarships for South Asian students, apart from providing skills training to thousands of others.

He said that South Asia is mired in several crisis and conflicts at the moment due to various unresolved political and geographical factors and all these issues would be resolved effectively through strong regional connectivity and business to business contacts. Highlighting the role of China in building the South Asian economy, he said China is the world’s second largest economy and a global power.

President Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Eng Daroo Khan Achakzai,Advisor to SAARC Chamber Zubair Ahmad Malik, acting Secretary General SAARC Chamber Zulfiqar Ali Butt also attended the all proceeding of the South Asia Business moot and series of round table one on one interaction with Vice Presidents of members state countries and national leaders of respective chambers.

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