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Vision 2025: A right tool for enhancing economic trade and investment relations among ECO member states

Interview with Mr Zubair Tufail – President, FPCCI

Profile

A leading economic, finance and international trade expert, prominent businessman and President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI). Mr. Zubair Tufail bears an impressive profile detailing an unprecedented track record finely bedecked and evenly interspersed with illustrious achievements and services on various fronts of human endeavor. Mr. Zubair has visited various countries in order to accomplish Prime Minister and President of Islamic Republic Pakistan objectives to enhance economic and trade relations especially with the China, Malaysia, Iran, United States, Egypt, Oman, Poland etc. He is an active member of Pakistan Chemicals & Dyes Merchant Association and Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry for more than 35-years. He has been the member of number of official working group on economic finance, trade, industrial cooperation and economic corridor and presently is a member Board of Governors of various national Public/Private organizations. Born in 1951 in Karachi and studied at Sindh Muslim Science College. Mr. Zubair Tufail is a leading businessman and industrialist, running three chemical plants successfully in Karachi & Lahore. He is in business since 1972 and Chairman of Tufail Chemical Industries limited, as well as Tufail Group of Companies. Mr. Zubair Tufail is a bonafide businessmen and large taxpayer. He paid personal income tax worth of Rs15 million in June 2016 and his group paid income tax of more than 235 million in 2016. Mr. Zubair professional acumen and remarkable understanding of complex trade, finance, economic, social investment and industrial issues are his forte, which not only earned him wide acknowledgment, but also helped him earn his spurs as a thorough professional. His commitment to national interests, economic and trade development, profession, and humanitarian pursuits, combined with impeccable knowledge of international trade, industry, finance and economy has resulted in numerous accolades and achievements.

PAGE: HOW WOULD YOU COMMENT ON THE 13TH SUMMIT OF THE ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (ECO)?

ZUBAIR TUFAIL: The 13th Eco Summit is very successful event, before commenting on the 13th ECO Summit I must inform that currently Secretariat & Presidentship of ECO Chamber of Commerce & Industry is in FPCCI. Actually ECO has its affiliated agencies such as ECO trade & Development Bank ECO Science foundation ECO Culture organization and similarly ECO CCI is one of its affiliated bodies.

I am pleased to inform you that ECO CCI also held its statuary & Executive Committee/ General Assembly meetings from 1st -3rd March 2017 in Islamabad with the participation of all 10 members countries so, we are also happy by organizing our meetings at the time of 13th ECO Summit.

ECO Summit is successful for various reasons that is presence of head of states at the time when there were wrong perception created by some irresponsible agents before the commencement of this Summit in Pakistan and due to global situation and Pakistan environment it may not be held. ALHAMDULILLAH it was very successful, lot of pending issues resolved and new emerging cooperation dialogues emerged out. Islamabad declaration was adopted and vision 2025 for ECO approved and accepted in the presence of head of states.

PAGE: DO YOU THINK THE 13TH SUMMIT OF THE ECONOMIC COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (ECO) WOULD HELP IN DOUBLING INTRA-REGIONAL TRADE IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

ZUBAIR TUFAIL: Yes, I am optimistic and very much confident because most of the members are agreed and have signed ECOTA, TIR Convention and some of them have ratified it. So there is high optimism among the government levels as well as private sector to boost the trade. ECO vision 2025 also emphasizes on trade development. On the other hand the latest development in the region that is CPEC, Chabahar port and Iran offers to link with CPEC and itself expansion of CPEC beyond the region will definitely create opportunities for enhancing trade manifolds. CARs countries and Afghanistan will be benefitted more from CPEC.

PAGE: THE SUMMIT ADOPTED ISLAMABAD DECLARATION AND VISION 2025. THE DECLARATION CALLS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF TRANSPORT AND COMMUNICATION INFRASTRUCTURE, FACILITATION OF TRADE AND INVESTMENT, PROMOTION OF CONNECTIVITY WITH OTHER REGIONS, EFFECTIVE USE OF ENERGY RESOURCES AND UNDERTAKING MEASURES FOR MAKING THE ECO EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT. VISION 2025 UNDERSCORES PROMOTION OF COOPERATION AMONG MEMBER STATES. YOUR VIEWS:

ZUBAIR TUFAIL: Regional Integration is widely accepted as means for socio economic wellbeing of people. Countries analyzing benefits of Regional Integration and the country themselves through better transportation, Infrastructure and trade facilitation prefer to join regional integration.

According to a report on Trade Facilitation agreement of WTO, which is now enforced that the developing countries may reduce their trade cost 14 to 15 percent while developed countries will reduce 12 to 13 percent. Better infrastructure promotes connectivity and ease of doing business. ECO vision 2025 focuses on all such areas that will eliminate bottlenecks in the way of Economic Integration.

I hope that implementation of ECO Vision 2025 will be consider as a tool for enhancing economic trade and investment relations among ECO member states because vision 2025 address APPI, Cooperation & Promotion of ECO countries investment promotion agencies more active and effective role of ECO trade and development bank.

PAGE: THE SUMMIT CRITICIZED TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS AND ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON IT?

ZUBAIR TUFAIL: The business for every country should have level playing fields. Conducive environment promote trade, which is necessary and a tool of poverty elimination. I always favor level playing field for all economic agents in the global economic factors.

PAGE: FACTORS RESTRICTING TRADE IN THE REGION INCLUDE DIFFERENCES IN ECONOMIC SYSTEMS, LOGISTIC CONSTRAINTS DUE TO INADEQUATE TRANSPORT LINKAGES AND PROBLEMS WITH BANKING TRANSACTIONS. THE ECOTA WAS SIGNED IN JULY 2003 BUT HAS NOT BEEN IMPLEMENTED AS YET BECAUSE HALF OF THE MEMBERS ARE STILL TO ACCEDE TO IT. THE AGREEMENT IS AIMED AT REMOVING TRADE BARRIERS FOR INTRA-REGIONAL TRADE. YOUR VIEWS:

ZUBAIR TUFAIL: During the eighth meeting of Trade Facilitation Committee of ECO-CCI held in the month of August, 2016 at Tehran, Iran it was decided ECOTA should be moved to FTA and member countries should develop list of items accordingly.

Unfortunately, after many years ECOTA has not been implemented some of the members have signed it but they do not signed instruments of negotiation and some of them ratified. However, required numbers are still not complete to implement ECOTA. As far as my information is concerned, some countries are willing to relisting of their products.

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