1. ASEAN and Pakistan today (5 Feb 99) agreed to intensify their efforts to make their Sectoral Dialogue mutually beneficial and substantive at the First Meeting of the ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee (APJSCC) in Bali.
2. The two sides agreed to encourage and facilitate direct contacts between their respective government agencies to develop practical and feasible joint cooperation activities by matching the priorities of ASEAN as outlined in the Hanoi Plan of Action with the priorities and expertise of Pakistan as enunciated in the “Pakistan 2010″ Perspective plan. Specific areas of cooperation to be explored further are: food processing technology, environmental protection, water resource management, narcotics control, non-conventional energy research, remote sensing and geographic information system.
3. The ASEAN delegation was led by Secretary-General of ASEAN Rodolfo C. Severino, Jr., and included ASEAN Directors-General of Member States, Idris Bashok, Director and acting Secretary General of the ASEAN-Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ASEAN-CCI) Secretariat, and Indonesian members of the ASEAN-Pakistan Business Council.
4. The ASEAN Secretary-General stated that ASEAN valued the friendship of Pakistan and sincerely appreciated the active interest of Pakistan in pursuing meaningful cooperation with ASEAN. He expressed his confidence that Pakistan has the expertise and capability to be a valuable partner of ASEAN.
5. He emphasized that the transient economic and financial difficulties in ASEAN Member States would not deter the Association from its outward-looking orientation. Therefore, he added that ASEAN would continue to work closely with Pakistan towards strengthening the foundation of their cooperation.
6. Leading the Pakistan side at the Bali meeting was Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmad Khan, whose delegation included Pakistan Ambassador to Indonesia Afzal Akbar Khan, ASEAN Affairs Director-General Salim Nawaz Khan Gandapur, Commerce Joint Secretary M. Amjad Virk, Joint Scientific Advisor Dr. Tariq-ur-Rehman, and President of the Pakistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Fazl-ur-Rehman Dittu.
7. The Foreign Secretary expressed his deep gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality accorded to his delegation. He emphasized that Pakistan fully reciprocated ASEAN’s sentiments. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s confidence that the setbacks to the economies of Southeast Asia were purely temporary, and highlighted the need for the world to recognize ASEAN’s resilience.
8. He referred to Pakistan’s “Look East” policy and underlined its keen desire to enhance mutually beneficial collaboration with ASEAN to enable her to attain the Dialogue Partner status at the earliest. He underscored the important contribution Pakistan could make to regional peace and security on admission to the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).
9. The Foreign Secretary announced Pakistan’s contribution of US$100,000 to establish the ASEAN-Pakistan Fund, which would be used in supporting joint activities between the two sides.
10. In addition, Pakistan announced its readiness to host in Karachi in April 1999 a workshop on trade facilitation back-to-back with the First Meefing of the ASEAN-Pakistan Business Council.
11. The Bali meeting follows the inaugural meeting in Islamabad in November 1997 when the ASEAN-Pakistan Sectoral Dialogue was institutionalized with the formation of the APJSCC. Co-chaired by the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, the APJSCC is in charge of promoting cooperation in trade, industry, investment, environment, science and technology, tourism, drugs and narcotics, and human resource development.
12. Pakistan responded positively to the proposal of the ASEAN Secretary-General to act as a catalyst in facilitating cooperation between ASEAN and the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), of which Pakistan is a member. Before assuming his present post, the Pakistan Foreign Secretary served as the Secretary-General of ECO at its headquarters in Teheran. It was noted that Pakistan with its large population of over 130 million and strategic geographic location, provides a bridge for closer economic collaboration between the 700 million people in ASEAN and ECO combined.
13. The meeting agreed that the private sector had a pivotal role to play in the enhancement of mutually beneficial cooperation between Pakistan and the ASEAN member states. The meeting endorsed the plans of the APBC to concentrate its attention initially on cooperation in agribusiness, SMEs linkages, capital goods and tourism.
14. ASEAN and Pakistan agreed that Pakistan would host the Second Meeting of the APJSCC in the first half of the year 2000.