Pakistani traders demand opening road route

Written by Preeti Parashar | Chandigarh | Updated: Apr 30 2011, 07:10am hrs
Aiming for a smooth movement of goods between India and Pakistan, traders from the neighbouring country, are demanding opening up of trade via road for more non-perishable items. The traders who are in Chandigarh to participate in an event- Made in Pakistan, organised by CII northern region, have put forth their demand for expansion of trade, whereby more products can be transported via road route.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president, Ramu S Deora said that the bilateral trade will cross $10 billion in the next three years. FIEO would also be taking steps for setting up a joint chamber with its counterpart in Pakistan to facilitate bilateral trade. The focus of joint communique is on removal of non tariff barrier which is key to trade expansion.

M Khurshid Barlas, senior member, fairs and exhibition committee, Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry told FE, At present we transfer our cargo from Pakistan by train which is quite affordable but it takes two-three days to reach here. We want cargo movement to be allowed by trucks on road for speedy arrivals. This move will further help to both the countries move up the trade chain. He further added, Astonishingly, but true, major part of Pakistans current export goes to the European Union and US. Presently only 5.5 % of the Pakistan trade is done with SAARC countries, which stand a potential to improve it by 10% due to commonalities in cultures and needs of the people in SAARC countries. Expos like these pave way towards making this possible and give an opportunity for improving both business and people linkages.

The traders also want some relaxation in the visa procedures. We have been putting up shows in Colombo, Dhaka, Kathmandu etc, but getting a visa takes the longest in India. We have to file the application two months prior to the event whereas we get visa on arrival in Colombo and Kathmandu. Next year we are also planning to put up an expo in Maldives, said Barlas.

India, Maldives, Indonesia, Nepal and Sri Lanka are seen as potential markets for Pak exports, India taking the maximum share out of all. More than 48 exhibitors from Pakistan taking up 60 stalls have displayed their products as compared to 43 last time in Chandigarh.

Going by the exquisite taste of the buyers of Chandigarh, and on popular demand during the last shows, traders have brought along an exclusive range of products from almost all regions of Pakistan. These include garments and embroidered fabric from Multan, Karachi and Lahore; ethnic footwear from Lahore and Multan; handicrafts from Swat Peshawar; dcor products from Karachi; carved rosewood furniture from Peshawar and designer melamine from Gujranwala apart from dry fruits and onyx.