New Delhi, Jan 17: Pakistan’s Commerce Minister Khurram Dastigir Khan Friday said South Asia has a huge potential for intra-regional trade and economic cooperation and that removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers would go a long way in boosting trade.
Addressing the SAARC Business Leaders’ Conclave in Delhi, Khan said intra-regional banking mechanisms would help boost cooperation among South Asian countries.
“There is huge potential in intra-regional trade and regional economic cooperation. It can thrive once tariff and non- tariff barriers are removed. This must be done in a manner so that the peoples of this region become the principal beneficiaries of such cooperation,” Khan said.
He said the SAARC Business Leaders’ Conclave was an important assembly of government and business leaders from South Asia that provides a unique opportunity to set the course of realising the vision of a South Asian century.
“Working the vision of a South Asian century requires a new mindset, a new attitude and to overcome the syndrome of the zero sum game,” he said.
The minister said intra-regional banking mechanisms were extremely important to take forward the concept of regional cooperation.
He said economic development through regional cooperation was a priority of Pakistan, according to a statement from the Pakistan High Commission.
The minister pointed out that the SAARC region can do a lot together for collective advantage.
He appreciated the concept of SAARC Energy Ring and underscored the need to give shape to trans-regional energy projects such as the Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (TAPI) gas pipeline and the Iran-Pakistan pipeline.
He said South Asia needs to develop its own resources and learn from each other’s experience in the development of the energy potential of the region.
Earlier, Indian business leaders called on the minister on the sidelines of the SAARC Business Leaders’ Conclave, the statement said.