One Billion Strong Workforce Asia-Pacific is a Huge Market for Pakistani Exports
Karachi (PR): Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has highlighted that the 25-country trade alliance of Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce & Industry (CACCI) is collectively a huge market for Pakistani exports – be it trade in goods, export of services or export of human resources. He was speaking on the occasion of 36 thCACCI Conference in Melbourne, Australia.
It is pertinent to note that Asia-Pacific is a huge, diverse, fast-developing, dynamic and geographically vast set of regions; including, East Asia, Russian Far East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia and Pacific Islands.
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that enormity of the export potential lies in the fact that one billion people are in the workforce of these 25 countries and have a very vibrant middle-class; which is the true engine of consumption through their purchasing power. Working class, in turn, derives the demand for imports; and, we should study & explore the untapped potential in both conventional and unconventional sectors.
FPCCI Chief felicitated the newly-elected President of CACCI, Mr. Peter McMullin; who is also a former President of Victorian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI), Australia. He added that he is hopeful to exchange bilateral & multilateral trade delegations with CACCI member states in the near future as Pakistan will able to play a more proactive role; since Mr. Khurram Tariq Sayeed, who is also a former VP FPCCI, has been elected Vice President of CACCI.
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh explained that trade is the most vital missing component of Pakistan’s GDP growth as 30 percent of world’s GDP is based on trade; and, it takes all the more importance in our peculiar case as we import more than double what we export. On top of that, we have not been able to stabilize Pak Rupee; and, this double whammy has broken all records of inflation in Pakistan
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has named four factors of utmost importance to reign-in inflation and current account deficit (CAD): industrialization, import substitution, incentivizing exports and stabilizing rupee value.
President FPCCI highlighted that global trade volume during Covid-19 pandemic suffered animmensedebility from $49 trillion to $44 trillion; nonetheless, the post-Covid trade & industry have managed to enhance the trade volumes substantially to reach $55 trillion – and, FPCCI is ever-willing to support the business, industry and trade community to earn Pakistan’s rightful share in global trade.
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh noted that Pakistan will be having a unique advantage of CPEC to augment its export exponentially and Pakistan should focus on this differentiating factor. However, he also pointed out the challenges being faced by the export-oriented sectors and extended his full support to the business community in policy advocacy and consultative processes with the government.
Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.