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Indo-Pak enhance trade to help reducing poverty - H.E. TCA Raghavan September 29, 2014
Meeting at ICCI
There is a greater realization in India and Pakistan that increased bilateral trade will act as force multiplier and help reducing poverty in both, observed H.E. Mr. T.A.C. Raghavan, High Commissioner of India while addressing a big gathering of business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
He said all neighboring countries may have some difference, but improvement in bilateral trade has the potential to transform all aspect of relations between India and Pakistan. He said Indian Prime Minister has urged in his speeches for better relations with all neighbors in order to advance economic growth and investment for reducing poverty and this should be the preferred approach of India and Pakistan to improve living standard of common man.
He said for improving relations, it is important that India and Pakistan should keep positive things in mind rather than the negatives. He was of the view that things were moving in right direction and more bilateral cooperation could help removing misperceptions. He said that PTV dramas have once again become popular in India and a new movie with a lead role fro Pakistani Actor was a notable progress. 
He said tourism promotion is the quickest way of employment generation and India has signed a protocol of tourism with Pakistan to promote bilateral tourism and efforts were afoot to address issues including NTBs between the two countries. He said Indian High Commission has planned to hold regular video conferences and smaller networking sessions with Pakistan Chambers and assured to play a facilitative role in grant of visas to Pakistani businessmen.
Speaking at the occasion, S.M.Munir, Chief Executive, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan said that TDAP’s recent Pakistan Lifestyle Expo in India achieved good success and thanked Indian authorities for their support for said Expo. He said being close neighbor, Pakistan and India have great potential to promote bilateral trade and both countries should open more trade routes for realizing the available potential. He urged for allowing mobile roaming service and establishing bank branches in both countries. He said both governments should adopt open visa policy and India should grant business visa for all cities instead of giving just 10 cities. He also urged both countries to open up formal banking channels to ease the business transactions.
In his welcome address, Shaban Khalid, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that bilateral trade of around USD 3-billion was much below the true potential of Pakistan and India. He said more trade was taking place via third channel and stressed that Pakistan and India should facilitate direct trade to achieve win-win results. He said both countries should establish direct air links and open more road links to improve bilateral trade & people-to-people contacts.
Shaban Khalid said Pakistan and India were suffering from common issues including poverty and added that promoting trade was the best avenue to reduce poverty. He said common man should be the priority focus of our policies and emphasized that both countries should undo police reporting policy for visitors which was proving a serious inconvenience. He said both sides need to improve trade infrastructure to bring it at par with international standards and address all NTBs to facilitate business. He vowed to work with Indian HC for bringing both countries even closer in trade and economic relations.  

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