KARACHI (our reporter):- The President Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FPCCI) Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has said that 57-Country alliance of Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA) represent an enormous collective GDP of $7 trillion and that makes it the most significant alliance for Pakistan to enhance its exports, attract FDI and remittances.

He was representing Pakistan at the 38th General Assembly of the alliance to discuss issues of trade, investments, economy and B2B relations.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that the trade between OIC countries stands at only 17.5 percent; while for other alliances like EU it is 55 percent and NAFTA 58 percent. He added that all ICCIA countries should work towards enhancement of trade to capitalize on mutual strengths. He also attended the 33rd Board of Directors meeting of ICCIA.

FPCCI Chief has pointed out that Pakistan should focus on enhancing its exports to OIC countries in value-added textiles, leather products, footwear, handicrafts, sports goods, pharmaceuticals, surgical goods, gems & jewelry, rice, fruits & vegetables and construction materials.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh emphasized that Pakistan should capitalize on people-to-people, business-to-business and chamber-to-chamber contacts; and, translate them into government-to-government contacts aimed at increasing trade, investment and economic cooperation tangibly.

FPCCI President pointed out that one of the most pivotal opportunities with ICCIA countries for Pakistan is to export skilled and semi-skilled human resources to these countries and there is a potential to export as many as 1 – 2 million additional HR to these countries.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh also expressed his profound concerns over the increasing energy and power prices in Pakistan & its fast increasing demand of the same; and, have sought assistance from the oil-rich and economically sound brotherly Islamic countries to come forward and help Pakistan in this hour of need as they have done on many critical occasions in the past.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh stated that Pakistan is directly affected by any social or economic issues faced by Afghanistan; and, Muslim Ummah should collectively help Afghanistan to come out of food shortages, meet healthcare needs, tackle unemployment, build basic infrastructure and create enabling environment for economic growth.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has proposed that OIC should organize trade fairs & exhibitions at various levels, i.e. across ICCIA, single-country exhibitions and sectorial fairs as well. He noted with a sigh of relief that this is possible now as most of the COVID-related restrictions have been lifted.

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