Trade with India to reduce inflation, increase exports: Zahid

KARACHI: Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan,
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, and All Karachi
Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on
Wednesday said trade with India will reduce inflation in Pakistan.

Direct import of raw material and other inputs will also reduce the cost of
production and boost exports, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that the most effective way to provide relief to the
people by reducing inflation is not a controversial and impractical package
but restoration of trade relations with India.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that it
has been decided to give priority to economics over politics but restoring
trade relations with the neighbouring country whose economy is double than
Russia remain hostage to politics.

He said that some trade with India is taking place through the UAE, but it
increases the prices and makes production and exports more expensive.

Realizing the situation, trade should be opened with India so that the cost
of production and inflation in the country can be reduced.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that cotton production has been reduced to eight
million bales due to continuous rains and other issues and to make up for
the shortfall, cotton is imported from countries like the USA and Brazil
which cost billions of dollars, but the neighbouring country is ignored.

This year the production of tomatoes in the country is likely to exceed the
average of 5 million tons to 9 million tons, which will cause a market crash
and farmers will be ruined.

In many places, farmers will prefer to plough the crop instead of selling
tomatoes, which will have devastating economic consequences for them.

On the other hand, tomato production in India is much less than expected,
and it needs this vegetable, so Pakistan should send surplus produce to
India to earn foreign exchange and save local farmers by balancing the
prices in the local market.

Date farmers in Sindh are already facing severe difficulties due to the
suspension of trade, which should be given relief.

Mian Zahid Hussain further said that India imports $400 billion worth of
goods annually which includes some of Pakistan’s imports through the UAE and
all its benefits go to the third country.

If Pakistan can get a 2% share in Indian imports, it will be 8 billion
dollars, but this opportunity is constantly being ignored for the sake of
politics. -Agencies