Engr. Daroo Khan Achakzai, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has stressed on the need of exploration of MERCOSUR which is a regional trade bloc of South America comprising emerging economies of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay founded in 1991and other countries of South America are also associated members .
He added that it is a fifth largest market of world; functioning as a customs union and free-trade area with a combined market of 265 million people with nominal GDP US$ 3.3 trillion and average per capita income US$ 12,000. While commenting on Pakistan-MERCOSUR, he stated that the share of common market of South America is less than one percent in trade of Pakistan. Lack of information; mutual understandings, business interactions, connectivity and people to people contact between Pakistan and MERCOSUR are the reason of the low economic relations.
The President FPCCI further stated that Pakistan-MERCOSUR Framework Agreement was signed in July 2006 to initiate the process of negotiation to conclude a Preferential Trade Agreement for the enhancement of trade volume. He added that Pakistan is co-member with South American countries in another trade agreement other than WTO; that is Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) which came into being in 1989 but no significant steps have been taken to utilize these agreements for the enhancement of trade. He urged the government to take measures for exploring these untapped market where there is free moments of goods and same technical standards for food, agriculture and other products; indicates the exploration of one market either Brazil or Argentina also helps in penetrating the other markets of South America.
He stated that there are wide range of sports played in South American region particularly football; indicates an opportunity for Pakistan to increase the exports of sports good. Moreover, lack of agriculture perspective in South America indicates the potentials of cereals and other prospective items of export are textile, leather, dairy products, edible fruits and vegetable, pharmaceuticals, surgical goods etc. He believed that there is huge scope of technical assistance and investment from Brazil and Argentina in agricultural conservation, innovation of seeds and food processing. He undermined that there is a huge demand of Halal products in South American region. As Central and South America is a market of more than US$ 1.0 billion of halal meat which also indicates a great opportunity for Pakistan to capture this market as a supplier of Halal certified meat. Brazil can cooperate with Pakistan for energy production from renewable sources including hydro and ethanol sources, he suggested.
He suggested the government to utilize Pakistani trade missions in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and other countries for exploring the market and opening of display centers in embassies for displaying the Pakistani products. Moreover, the Government should send fact-finding missions and formulate trade delegations for exploring these markets as Pakistan has not sent it delegation in the past.