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Call to unlock avenues for Pak-ASEAN partnership

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ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) need to make joint efforts to enhance bilateral trade and economic ties, said Ambassador of Indonesia to Pakistan Adam M Tugio.

Talking to APP on the sidelines of a roundtable conference held in Islamabad on Thursday, the envoy called for improving ties between governments, business communities and people of both sides.

“There is a need to renew Pakistan’s relations with Asean members by refreshing links between businessmen of both regions,” he said.

“Direct flights to Asean member states, free trade agreement (FTA), trade dialogue, aggressive economic diplomacy and business-to-business and government-to-government cooperation can unlock new avenues for collaboration.”

In addition, strong multilateral linkages between institutions of Pakistan and Asean can help deepen economic and trade cooperation.

Read Pakistan asked to tap huge ASEAN market

The envoy acknowledged that a major policy breakthrough had been achieved by Pakistan, adding that the shift in leadership’s diplomatic approach from geopolitics to geoeconomics would further strengthen Pakistan’s economic and trade relations with the potential trading partners such as Asean.

He pointed out that Pakistan had an FTA with Beijing and a similar trade deal had been signed between Asean and China, which could benefit both sides.

He stressed that Pakistan and Asean needed to explore potential sectors for mutual cooperation in a bid to increase bilateral trade in diverse fields.

Speaking on the occasion, United Business Group (UBG) President Zubair Tufail said that the volume of bilateral trade between Asean and Pakistan was just $7 billion, which was far below its true potential.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2021.

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