FPCCI & Pakistan to be Chair at China – South Asia Business Forum 2024

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, while participating in the 16th China – South Asia Business Forum held in Kunming China organized by the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) highlighted the need for trade and regional integration between China and South Asian countries. Also, in a major achievement for FPCCI, Pakistan after much deliberation was selected for the Rotating Presidency for 17th China – South Asia Business Forum scheduled in 2024.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh focused on the role Pakistan plays in the SAARC region with its strategic location and abundant resources; and, highlighted that Pakistan at the crossroads of China, South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East serves as a natural gateway for trade and connectivity between the global economies. He emphasized the role of CPEC that has played a major role in enhancing trade opportunities, stimulated investment and the development of economic cooperation of Pakistan.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh pointed out that the South Asian countries have historically focused more on trade with Europe and North America rather than within the region. He mentioned that 95% of South Asian countries’ trade is with regions outside of South Asia.

Speaking at this important forum, which was attended widely by the representatives of Government of China along with officials from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Chinese media officials, he put forward several proposals to increase regional connectivity within the region.

FPCCI Chief highlighted that the most important aspect is to strengthen connectivity and infrastructure development between China and South Asia. It is the need of the hour to invest in transportation networks, logistics and digital connectivity as intra-regional trade is the solution to regional development.

FPCCI President also mentioned that the governments must adopt trade facilitation measures to simplify trade procedures and reduce business barriers. Further, he mentioned, that the success of China – South Asia connectivity lies in embracing innovation and technology–driven industries. Collaboration in research and development, promoting entrepreneurship and providing support for startups should be the initial steps.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh assured all present that the commitment of FPCCI, as the apex body of trade and industry, will ensure all support in enhancing regional development and intra-regional trade. He concluded by emphasizing that this economic growth should benefit all segments of the society; including marginalized communities resulting in inclusive and sustainable development.

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