ISLAMABAD - Minister for Commerce Pervaiz Malik on Tuesday offered Canadian investors to exploit the attractive trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan and sought greater market access for its products from Canada.
He stated this while talking to Canadian Minister for International Trade, Francois-Philippe Champagne and Minister for Immigration Ahmed Hussen here, says a press release received here from Ottawa, Canada.
The minister informed the Canadian counterpart that under WTO, Pakistan is looking for level playing field for export of its goods to Canadian market and issues like, travel advisory for visit to Pakistan and visa restrictions for Pakistani businessmen are hampering bilateral trade. He urged for immediate removal of these irritants in order to enhance bilateral trade volume. The minister added that Pakistan’s Investment Policy, characterized by liberalization, de-regulation and privatization, is one of the most liberal in the region and provides a conducive environment for attracting FDI.
He highlighted manifold increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) in energy and infrastructure projects under CPEC and international investments in automobile, telecom, manufacturing and tourism industry in Pakistan.
Minister Malik underlined that Pakistan meets the priority of Canada’s foreign trade in consumer products, industrial machinery, ICTG, infrastructure, mining, oil and gas, clean technologies, agriculture and education sectors .
He said that with over 200 million consumers market and large booming middle class, Pakistan is a promising market for Canadian goods, services and investment. In his remarks, Champagne expressed his gratitude to the commerce minister for accepting the invitation to hold trade dialogue in Ottawa. He said that Canada would like to increase the trade volume between the two countries and all practical steps would be taken to enhance cooperation in the areas of mutual interest.
The minister added that Canada also seeks to enhance relations with emerging economies and partners in Asia and Pakistan certainly provides opportunity for Canadian investors to benefit from increasing demand of consumer goods and services. The Canadian minister for immigration briefed the commerce minister about the steps being taken to ease visa processing for Pakistani businessmen, students and tourists. He said that Pakistan has great potential and Canada would like to ease and facilitate visa processing for all categories in order to increase people to people ties.
The two sides agreed to hold high powered joint working group meeting in Islamabad during March 2018 to remove the hurdles in enhancing bilateral trade and to engage meaningfully to develop partnership in economic, trade, agriculture and investment sectors .
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Pakistan on Tuesday invited the Turkish investors to invest in all sectors of economy, specifically in agriculture machinery, pharmaceutical and mining, and to further boost the investment & trade relations between the two countries.
Naeem Y Zamindar, chairman of Board of Investment (BOI), gave the invitation to a Turkish delegation led by Atilla D Yerlikaya, chairman of Turkey-Pakistan Business Council. The meeting discussed the possibilities of enhancing the cooperation in the areas of bilateral trade, investment and business development relations between the two countries.
Zamindar mentioned that the government is encouraging the investors to invest in Pakistan especially in the 09 special economic zones (SEZs) identified in CPEC. “Pakistan is open for all companies around the world to set up industries in these zones to transfer technology and start manufacturing in Pakistan. For Pakistan, the development in trade and industry is the main gain from CPEC as a driving force for economic growth and taking the fruits of CPEC to the lesser developed regions of Pakistan. Industrial cooperation is the component of CPEC in which the sustainability of whole CPEC project is dependent. The role of private sector is very crucial and important in this phase of CPEC. To upscale the investment and spur industrialization through creating new industry clusters, SEZ law has been formalized to meet the global challenges of competitiveness. SEZ framework facilitates creation of industrial clusters with liberal incentives, infrastructure and investor facilitation services to enhance productivity and reduce cost of doing business,” BoI chairman said.
The chairman BOI further added that Pakistan offers exemption from custom duties and taxes for all plants & machinery imported into Pakistan as well as an income tax holiday for 10 years for the SEZs. Pakistan due to its strategic location, cheap labour and cheap raw material outclasses other countries, he said. He further added that Pakistan needs a shift from resource-based and low technology exports to the adoption and development of medium- and high-technology productions, and technological sophistication. Almost 80 per cent of Pakistan’s exports are resource-based items.
The delegation briefed the chairman BOI that the Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Board extends cooperation to other countries through Business Councils working in 127 countries and that they would like to introduce the business community of Turkey to Pakistan and vice versa. The current investment by Turkish companies were highlighted during the meeting.
During the meeting, Yerlikaya highlighted the importance of free trade agreement between Turkey and Pakistan, which is expected to have a high impact on trade flows as well as bilateral investments. Yerlikaya mentioned that a comprehensive free trade agreement covering commodity and services trade as well as investments will definitely deepen bilateral economic cooperation. Mutually agreed exceptions for certain industries can be identified within the scope of a comprehensive agreement. Senior Turkish business representatives from Anadolu Group, Zorlu Holding, Arcelik, Albayrak along with other representatives from health, construction and services industries shared the profiles of their companies in Turkey with the Chairman BoI and informed that they were planning to enhance their investment keeping in view the growth potential in the country.