Indian businessmen to visit Pakistan in May

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, April 21:

A 70-member Indian business delegation will visit Pakistan from May 23 to expedite the process of tapping trade potential between the two countries. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) delegation would seek the early launch of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), which it feels, holds the potential to increase two-way trade between the two countries to $5 billion from the current $400 million. “The idea is to ensure that bilateral trade and economic cooperation is enhanced,” a FICCI statement said

here today. The six-day long visit will take the delegation to Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore to draw out the business communities of the two countries and cement the confidence building measures set in motion by their leaders.

FICCI president Onkar S Kanwar would lead the Indian delegation, which was invited by the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the influential chamber of Pakistan. The delegation members will also call on president Pervez Musharraf,, prime minister Shaukat Aziz and foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri. “The deliberations in Pakistan will strive to go into the nitty-gritty of augmenting business cooperation between the two countries and formulate a road map for removing the infrastructural bottlenecks and improving the policy environment,” Kanwar said. India and Pakistan has been exploring new areas of boosting trade, following the recent visit of Pervez Musharraf to India, which among other progresses, hinted at the possibility of Pakistan being open to export of wheat from India in the near future.