The Second Meeting of the ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee (APJSCC) was convened at Islamabad on 28 February – 01 March 2001. The Meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Abdul Sattar, Foreign Minister of Pakistan.
The ASEAN delegations were led by H.E. Mr. Rodolfo C. Severino Jr., Secretary General of ASEAN and senior officials from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore Thailand and Vietnam.
The Pakistan delegation was led by the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Inam-ul-Haque and included senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Environment and Local Government; Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis; Industries and Production; Commerce; Minorities, Culture, Sports, Tourism and Youth Affairs; Science and Technology; and Food, Agriculture and Livestock, the Narcotics Control Division, Economic Affairs Division, Planning and Development Division and the Board of Investment. The representative of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) also made a presentation at the conference.
In his inaugural statement, the Foreign Minister of Pakistan noted with satisfaction that the Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee had established the institutional framework, identified projects for cooperation and decided on a programme of exchanges. The business community on both sides had a vital role in giving substance to the partnership between Pakistan and the ASEAN. The Foreign Minister highlighted the importance that Pakistan attached to its relations with the ASEAN countries as manifested in the high-level visits between the two sides.
In his opening statement, the ASEAN Secretary General welcomed Pakistan’s commitment to strengthen ASEAN-Pakistan Sectoral Cooperation in the eight agreed areas as well as new areas. He commended the economic progress of Pakistan and its policies of economic liberalization, privatization and diversification. He added that these developments provided the impetus to move ASEAN-Pakistan cooperation forward, taking into account the strengths of both sides.
In his opening remarks, the Foreign Secretary expressed the hope that the meetings of the ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Business Council and the Trade Facilitation Workshop held in February 2000, would help in closing the information gap that had impeded the enhancement of trade between ASEAN and Pakistan. He suggested that the ASEAN-Pakistan Business Council should undertake detailed studies to identify industries and services for joint ventures and investments.
The Foreign Secretary proposed that the process of cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN should be carried forward by upgrading the relationship to higher political levels. The Foreign Secretary also underlined Pakistan’s pivotal role in promoting ECO-ASEAN cooperation.
The meeting was briefed about developments in the ASEAN region by the ASEAN Secretary General. A presentation on the Pakistan economy was made by the Pakistan Ministry of Finance which highlighted the fact that Pakistan was well on the way to economic recovery.
The meeting examined at length the implementation of the decisions taken by the first APJSCC meeting in the eight agreed areas of trade, industry, investment, science and technology, drugs and narcotics control, human resource development, environment and tourism. Detailed presentations were made by the concerned Ministries of the Government of Pakistan proposing new areas of cooperation as well as specific projects.
The meeting agreed to the necessity of increasing trade between ASEAN and Pakistan. It also agreed that the trade imbalance be reduced by greater private sector interaction and exchange of information through workshops and Business Council meetings. In this context, the next ASEAN-Pakistan Trade Facilitation Workshop would be held in April 2001 in the Philippines. ASEAN welcomed the measures that Pakistan had taken to facilitate investment and attract Foreign Direct Investment.
In the field of environment, ASEAN welcomed Pakistan’s proposal for the establishment of a cleaner production center, an NGO forum on environment and the exchange of environmental journalists. ASEAN proposed collaboration in food processing technology. It also proposed that the two sides work on the area of new and renewable energy. ASEAN expressed interest in learning from Pakistan’s experience in the elimination of poppy production and the closing down of heroin laboratories.
Pakistan proposed collaboration in Information Technology, Agricultural Research and in the Transport and Communication sectors, as three additional areas for enhancing the sectoral dialogue partnership with ASEAN. ASEAN welcomed the proposal which will now be considered by the relevant ASEAN bodies.
The ASEAN Secretary General called on the Foreign Minister of Pakistan. The Foreign Minister noted with satisfaction that Pakistan and ASEAN have close relations and underlined Pakistan’s desire to enhance its cooperation with ASEAN in the framework of the dialogue partnership.
The ASEAN Secretary General also called on the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman, to discuss cooperation in the field of Information Technology and other areas relating to science and technology.
The third meeting of the APJSCC will be held in an ASEAN country on mutually convenient dates.