ISLAMABAD: OIC region is the largest bloc in the world with a membership of 57 countries having a collective population of over 1.5 billion people and GDP of over US$ 4.5 trillion, therefore, the Pakistani business community should focus on OIC countries to promote its trade and exports.
This was stated by Ambassador Rizwan Saeed Sheikh, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the OIC Jeddah while interacting with entrepreneurs during his visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI). Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan President, Fatma Azim Senior Vice President, Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI, Ejaz Abbasi, Aslam Khokhar, Saeed Khan, Abdul Rehman Siddiqui, Mehboob Ahmed Khan, Khalid Chaudhry and others were present at the occasion.
Rizwan Saeed Sheikh said there is huge potential for Pakistan to export its many products to OIC countries including rice, mangoes, dairy products, fresh vegetable & fruits, sports goods, surgical instruments, pharmaceutical products, carpets, leather products and textile items by removing trade barriers and promoting trade facilitation. He also discussed the OIC Trade Fair to be held in Pakistan in 2022 and other matters pertaining to trade, commerce and investment in OIC Region.
Speaking at the occasion, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President ICCI said that Pakistan has strong political relations with all Muslim relations that should be transformed into growing trade and investment relations.
He said that lack of information sharing and low level of interaction among the private sectors of Pakistan and OIC countries is the main reason behind the low level of trade that needs to be addressed. He stressed that the Pakistani government should cooperate with the private sector in increasing the level of commercial activities like holding of trade fairs and exhibitions and exchange of trade delegations between Pakistan and OIC region that would help in improving trade and exports.
Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that the lack of banking channels with many OIC countries also creates hurdles in payment mechanisms and increases the trade cost as the Pakistani business community has to use banking channels of third countries for trade.
He said that compliance and standardization requirements are different in various OIC countries, which affect the exports of Pakistan to them and urged that the Pakistani government should take measures for uniform standards with OIC countries to improve its trade with them.
Fatma Azim Senior Vice President, Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI and others also spoke at the occasion and highlighted that there is weak air connectivity of Pakistan with Central Asian, African and some Middle East Countries due to which the businessmen have to travel via third countries which increases the cost of trade. Therefore, they stressed that the Government of Pakistan should establish direct air links with all potential OIC countries to improve its trade and exports with them.