Vietnam Ambassador to Pakistan Nguyen Tien Phong on Sunday said Pakistan has huge trade and investment opportunities in Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN’s) $3 trillion economy for increasing the bilateral trade and economic ties. With ASEAN’s $3 trillion economic power and a large market of 650 million people in the region, the mutual $7 billion trade between ASEAN and Pakistan is far below its potential, the Ambassador said this while addressing to the Pakistan ASEAN Business Forum, organized by United Business Group (UBG) of Federation Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) here. Ambassador said that Pakistan is a huge market with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$300 billion and a population of 230 million, where there are huge opportunities for ASEAN countries as well. He said China has $600 billion in trade with ASEAN countries. Similarly, China and ASEAN countries have a free trade agreement with Pakistan from which both sides can benefit. Regarding multilateral trade in Association of South East Asian Nation (ASEAN) and Pakistan’s trade interests with this trading bloc, the Vietnam Ambassador said that Vietnam, being an important member of ASEAN, would play its full role in paving the way for trade for Pakistan. He added that ASEAN is a very effective trading bloc of the world have signed the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand from which all the regional countries are benefiting. Ambassador of Vietnam said that the way Pakistan has Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) -Plus agreement with Europe countries and FTA with other countries, now both sides can promote bilateral trade under one agreement. Vietnam Ambassador to Pakistan, Nguyen Tien Phong said that talks on further progress on Proposed Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Vietnam are likely to take place in mid-November this year 2021. In the fifth meeting of the ‘Vietnam-Pakistan Trade Committee Plan’ both sides will discuss the two top agendas of bilateral trade and investment, the PTA and the agreement on mutual investment and its protection. Ambassador said that the in the fifth round of talks under the Trade Sub-Committee will also discuss on the other issues of bilateral trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. He said that after the signing of the PTA between the two countries, there would be talks on the FTA so as to increase the trade volume between the two countries. He said that at present there is a bilateral trade of about $700 million between the two countries, which is far below its potential and in order to increase it the trade volume between the two countries needs to be increased. Responding to a question, he said that the main reason for the decline in bilateral trade volume between the two countries was lack of mutual awareness between the two sides, which needed to be improved in the future. Nguyen Tien Phong said that Pakistan also has good trade and economic relations with ASEAN countries, which need to be further enhanced. Ambassador said that the Golden Jubilee of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Vietnam would be on August 11 of coming year 2022, the day on which 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries would be completed. The 50 years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Vietnam would be marked in a dignified manner in which the development of bilateral diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries would be reaffirmed, he said. He said that trade, economic, cultural and people-to-people contacts between the two countries would have to be further enhanced. Ambassador of Thailands to Pakistan Mr Chakkrid Krachaiwong,hinted at the signing of a free trade agreement between Pakistan and Thailand. Malaysia’s acting ambassador urges increase in ASEAN-Pakistan trade volume. Addressing the forum, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shakeel Munir said that economic and trade relations between Pakistan and ASEAN need to be further enhanced. In this regard, there is a need to improve relations in business communities on both sides.