LAHORE: The Department of Economics Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS) held a two day International Conference on Pakistan-India Trade Normalization Issues for the purpose of disseminating the findings of policy papers researched at LUMS over a period of two years.
The event explored various aspects of Pakistan-India trade relations and examined ways to realize the trade potential between the two countries. At the conference, in addition to LUMS, researchers from SDPI, USAID, Farmer Association of Pakistan (FAP) and ICRIER (New Delhi) also presented their findings.
The prestigious conference was attended by former Foreign Minister for Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar, Businessman Syed Babar Ali, Vice Chancellor LUMS Dr. Sohail Naqvi, Chairman Planning and Development Irfan Illahi, a fifteen member delegation comprising of researchers, academics and industry stakeholders from Delhi including Secretary Industries, Commerce & Investment, Punjab; CEO of Punjab Board of Trade & Investment; renowned journalists and representatives of Karachi and Lahore Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the Agriculture and Pharmaceutical Sectors and academics from India and Pakistan. The conference was held in six sessions over two days.
The opening session included remarks by Professor Sohail Naqvi, VC LUMS and an introduction to the project by Dr. Mohsin Khan (Atlantic Council, Project Lead) who explained that the research conducted by LUMS focused on the impact of normalizing trade with India on three sensitive sectors of the Pakistani Economy, i.e. the Agriculture, Automotive and the Pharmaceutical sectors. It was followed by a talk by Irfan Illahi, Chairman Planning & Development Punjab who said that improving bilateral trade between the two countries required methodical and strategic steps where gains were sustained over the long term.
The first session of the conference on day one highlighted broader trade issues between India and Pakistan. The second session explored various issues on agriculture trade and the last session of the day was on the pharmaceutical sector.
The first session on day two was on trade prospects in the automotive industry. The session presented interesting and insightful discussions between ACMA (Indian Auto Component Manufacturers Association), PAMA and PAPAAM members. The next session explored the informal trade issues and there was a constructive debate around the areas of informal trade and it was noted that more systematic work is required to understand the nature of such trade and ways to resolve issues emanating from it.
Among the speakers and presenters were Dr. Turab Hussain (LUMS), Dr. Manzoor Ahmad (USAID), Dr. I.N. Mukherji (Consultant UN ESCAP, Delhi), Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Usman Khan (LUMS), Nadia Rehman (USAID/World Bank), Afaq Tiwana (Chairman FAP), Nadia Mukhtar (LUMS), Manoj Pant (Jawaharlal Nehru University), Samavai Batool (SDPI), Nazish Afraz (LUMS), Umer Bhatti (SDPI), Biswajeet Nag (India), Saad Shabbir (SDPI) and Afaq Hussain (Brief Pvt. LTD Delhi).
These sessions were followed by a talk by Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar who gave an overview of the political aspect of Pakistan-India Trade and her efforts as ex Foreign Minister in Normalizing trade between the two countries. For more information on the conference, please visit: www.lums.edu.pk