Building bridges with style

‘Life Style Pakistan’ exhibition the country’s first ever mega event in India, has opened in Delhi on Thursday with the hope and expectation that the trade ties between the two South Asian neighbors would be improved further in the interest of the people on both sides.
The exhibition was formally inaugurated by Indian Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma her at Pragati Maidan. He was accompanied by Pakistani Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood, Chief Executive Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Khohro and others. The first ‘Lifestyle exhibition was opened with over 100 top brands and designers from Pakistan showcasing their wares in various categories like fashion, textiles, jewellery, designer furniture leather goods and others.
To attend the important event and scheduled trade related meetings, over 650 Pakistani businessmen have arrived here. A large number of Indian visitors also seen in the exhibition showing their keen interest in the Pakistani made ups specially lawn and other textile items.
This was the first collaborative exhibition of TDAP and India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO). There has been lot of movement in trade in the last one year; the (trade) normalization process was going on at various levels.
A NEW CHAPTER OF TRADE TIES: Addressing the opening ceremony of the event, Anand Sharma said that the present exchange of trade delegations, exhibitions, business to business meetings and business forums being held among the businessmen of the two sides were the result of the initiatives taken by the two governments through the trade talks started at secretary commerce level.
“Generations have suffered by the bitter relations of the two countries and now it is our responsibility to save the present and next generations through encouraging economic integrations” he said adding that “we have no other option left”. “We have opened a new chapter in the history of India and Pakistan and our daughters and sons should not miss the opportunities of trade and economic activities” Time has taught us to take courageous decisions. Not only the government level but the linkages should also be strongly developed among trade bodies, associations and chambers of the two countries. The current bilateral volume of trade, he said, was however around $3 billion but indirect and undocumented trade was more than the official and registered trade between the two neighbors.
The two sides should also play their role to develop the regional trade following the way other countries successfully made regional organization like EU, ASEAN.
SECOND GATE AT WAGAH ATTARI: Indian minister informed that the second cargo terminal of Wagah Attari at Wagah Border would be opened on April 30, and the gate would be dedicated to the businessmen of both countries. He also said that more routes should be opened for trade between the two countries.
ELECTRICITY IMPORT FROM INDIA: Sharma further said that a joint group has also been made to see the possibilities of electricity supply to Pakistan and trade in petroleum sector.
He further said that Indian national institute if design and it counter part in Pakistan can also start a professional interactions for developing more value added designs in the fashion industry both sides. The same interaction and linkages also needed in other sectors.
And we could have a new visa regime pretty soon as well: In the post MFN regime India and Pakistan are expected to formally announce the finalisation of a new visa regime by next month to facilitate the businessmen on both sides. All arrangements and necessary things related to the business visa have in principle, been finalized by the two countries and the formal announcement was likely to be made by next month after approval from the concerned authorities like the Interior Ministry of Pakistan and the Home Ministry of India. This was said by Secretary Commerce Zafar Mahmood while talking media here after the inaugural function of the four-day ‘Lifestyle Pakistan’ exhibition on Thursday. After the facility, he informed, that businessmen from either country would get visa for more than one year and that too for more number of cities. In reply to a query, he said that the meeting between the Interior Ministry of Pakistan and the Home Ministry of India was likely to be taken place by the end of this month or in May. Talking to Pakistan Today, Rajya Vardhan Kanoria, President Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said that the Visa on Arrival was also likely to be allowed to the senior citizens soon. As there also a pressure on government to make the visa process easy, Delhi may also consider bring some changes in the strict visa process which was one of the hurdles in business and trade activities between the two countries. Another development in the business ties of the two countries, he said would be to allow the investment in both countries. Positive development in this regard was also expected soon, he added. Talking to Pakistan Today head of TDAP, Tariq Puri, said that the authority with the closed cooperation of ITPO and FICCI has successfully arranged the event which was be attended by over 650 businessmen from Pakistan. TDAP has reciprocated the first ever Indian Show held in Lahore this year through arranging the Life Style Pakistan exhibition where all top brands of the country were displayed.” We are here for not only sale but also buy the products,” he said adding that thousands of Indian visitors in the exhibition also proved the potential in Pakistani made ups. Though TDAP organizes over a hundred of exhibitions and business talks, but the Indian one was the unique and historic event which would pay way to improve the bilateral trade.

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