Undeterred by the reports of militant attacks and political tensions between India and Pakistan, the industry chambers on both sides of the borders are leaving no stone unturned to strengthen the trade ties between the two neighbours.
Terming the bilateral trade the most-promising and most-potent instrument for better relations, Imran Sohail, leader of the visiting 14-member delegation of Jhang Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Pakistan, said, "There is a lot of trade potential with Pakistan. If trade takes a front seat, automatically, other issues shall get pushed to the back seat."
Sohail was speaking during an interactive session organised by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Thursday evening.
"Booming bilateral trade may well be the strongest pillar of Indo-Pak rapprochement so much so that it shall not only overtake the pace of general confidence-building but also have a substantial impact on each other's mutual perceptions," said Sohail.
Sohail shared that there was a lot of scope for trade in handicrafts, textiles, surgical items, sports goods, renewable energy sector and many more.
"There should be maximum dissemination of information between the two countries that could lead to further increase in bilateral trade between the industrialists, businessmen and entrepreneurs of the two parties, with major thrust areas being education, infrastructure, food processing and energy", said Sohail.
Ashok Khanna, Past President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry said, "With the thrust on enhancing trade between the two countries in the right direction, we should explore the possibilities of technology transfer between the two nations now."
"With the cross border trade especially being brought in for a noticeable transformation, it shall contribute to overall tranquility and peace in the area and shall well facilitate progress in the border areas," said R S Sachdeva, Co-Chairman, Punjab Committee, PHD Chamber.
Reiterating PHD Chamber's firm resolve to boost bilateral trade ties, Dalip Sharma, Regional Director, PHD Chamber said, "PHD Chamber has been undertaking many initiatives aimed at confidence-building in trading communities on the either side of the border since its maiden show in 2005, the exclusively held Indo-Pak Expo, 2005.
"Being a part of the integrated approach towards better trade ties, such interactions play the role of a catalyst", said Sharma, "And these efforts have to be continuous, rigorous and regular", stressed Sharma.
Visiting delegate, Muhammad Azad, lamenting the cross-border trade policy on both sides of the border said, "For traders and businessmen, trade is primary and we urge both the governments to open the trade between the two nations."
The exchange between such delegations are a step further to provide a platform to the traders and masses of both the countries to understand each other better and dispel the presumptions in their minds for themselves, said N S Aulakh, Convener, Mohali Zone, PHD Chamber.
As per reports regards the total imports during the first quarter i.e. April 2012 - June 2012 was Rs 190.22 crore as compared to Rs 92.59 crore during the corresponding period of the last financial year.
Similarly, export touched Rs 356.98 crore during the first quarter of the current financial year, while during the corresponding period of the previous financial year it was Rs 257.35 crore.
As per a recently released US report, the Indo-Pak trade could jump to, well, 10 times the current amount. Removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers could result in an expansion of trade between the two countries from its current 2 to $2.5 billion to estimates ranging from $20 to $50 billion.