Provincial Industries and Commerce Department Secretary Dr Ahmed Javed Qazi said on Sunday that automobile industry enjoyed a key position in the national economy, and effective steps were being taken to increase its share in the GDP and get its proper share in the global market. This sector, he added, was providing opportunities to value-added exports; therefore, the Punjab government was providing all possible support for development of this industry. Addressing an industrial symposium, organised by the Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) here at the Expo Centre, he said 10 special economic zones were functional in the province, while recommendations had been sent to the Federal government for three new special economic zones. “There are vast opportunities for domestic and foreign investors in these special economic zones. There are also 24 small industrial estates for investors in the province,” he added. Qazi said that the University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore was contributing much to promote automobile and engineering sector and the Punjab Tianjin University of Technology, Mir Chakar Khan University, Dera Ghazi Khan, and Rasool University Mandi Bahauddin were producing high-quality technologists; however, there was a need to strengthen the linkages between academia and industry. The secretary said that such seminars prove helpful in policy-making process, assuring the recommendations that came out at the symposium would be considered by the relevant departments. He said that holding an auto show was a welcome step as 153 local and international exhibitors were participating in the event, factories making cars, tractors and motorcycles, apart from factories making auto-parts have set up their stalls. PAAPAM Chairman Abdul Razzaq Gohar, Chief Organiser Symposium Iftikhar Ahmed and others also addressed the seminar, while a large number of industrialists participated in the event.