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Pakistan for enhance bilateral relations in diverse fields with Kuwait

Pakistan and Kuwait agreed to enhance bilateral relations in diverse fields. They both want to enhance cooperation in industrial, agriculture, energy and defence sectors. Kuwaiti investors are advised to take advantage of the immense economic opportunities available in Pakistan.

Pakistan has proposed establishment of a Pakistan-Kuwait joint business council for promotion of trade relations between the two countries. Pakistan and Kuwait have been economic and trade partners for long and Pakistan wished to further enhance its relations with Kuwait in all spheres.

Referring to the level of bilateral trade between the two countries, the prime minister reiterated that this needed to be further enhanced to its fullest potential.

Encouraging greater private sector interaction could enhance the existing level of trade as well as bridge the imbalance in existing trade patterns.

Over 114,000 Pakistanis live in Kuwait which was evidence of the strong ties existing between the two countries. It also confirmed the immense importance that Pakistan attaches to relations with Kuwait.

Pakistan emphasizes the importance of early resumption of GCC- Pakistan Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the support of Kuwait.

Pakistan is an investment friendly country and an attractive destination for foreign investors, due to its liberal investment policy and high rate of return.

There are ample opportunities for investors, with one hundred per cent equity or joint ventures in Pakistan. Over 1,000 leading multinational companies are currently successfully operating in various sectors of our economy.

There are a number of energy and infrastructure development projects in Pakistan that could be considered by foreign investors. Pakistan would welcome further investments from Kuwait in mega infrastructure and energy projects being undertaken in Pakistan.

There is a great potential for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, construction, poultry, livestock and fisheries and to this end meetings of experts of the two countries will be held to work out a plan of action.

There were a number of energy and infrastructure development projects in Pakistan that could be considered by foreign investors.

The Joint Ministerial Commission of the two countries provided the best platform to take stock of bilateral cooperation in various economic sectors and setting new benchmarks to carry this cooperation forward.

Pakistan is attracting foreign direct investment around $1.5 billion a year and this figure is rising. Surprisingly, Kuwait’s investment in Pakistan stood at just $21 million in 2016. The trade balance is tilted in Kuwait’s favour as it exports a number of oil products to Pakistan.

In fiscal year 2016, Kuwait exports to Pakistan were worth $1,333.91 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Pakistani exports to Kuwait in the same year were worth only $100.28 million.

Another indication of the Pakistan economy opening up is the equity market boom, which has seen the Pakistan Stock Exchange index-100 shooting up from 34,398 in early July 2016 to 36,262.23 on May 11, 2016.

PSX shot up further to an unprecedented 50,000 in February 2017 and was moving at around 49,350 in mid-March.

The decisions for greater cooperation between Pakistan and Kuwait were taken to crucial discussions between Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah and Sharif during his visit to Kuwait.

Some of the key decisions were:

– The Emir accepted Nawaz Sharif’s request to end the eight-year-old ban on issuance of Kuwaiti visas for Pakistanis. More than 114,000 Pakistanis live in Kuwait, of whom a large number are highly skilled.

– Kuwait and Pakistan will strengthen bilateral relations by enhancing cooperation in a number of fields, including trade and investment. It will be funded by the public and private sectors.

– Pakistan will guarantee protection of investments and 100 per cent repatriation of investment and dividends.

– Pakistanis citizen willing to go Kuwait can now apply for Kuwait’s visa as the country has announced to lift its visa prohibition on Pakistan after six years.

The head of both the countries also recap to collaborate and establish a joint council for business. Alongside, both the countries will work together on five different fields.

Before in 2011, Kuwait government had suspended all visas for tourism, visit and trade, Government also had banned visas sponsored by spouses for nationals of Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to details, the ban was placed due to “difficult security conditions in the five countries” and to “the remarkably increasing tendency of nationals from the five countries” to apply for visas to bring in relatives who faced or could face arrest by local authorities.

Investments were offered in projects related to the CPEC. The CPEC will connect Shanghai, China, travelling north-west and culminate at the port city of Gwadar, Pakistan, facing the UAE, and will cost $56 billion.

Close to 20 percent of the project has been completed, according to officials. It will attract nearly $150 billion from foreign investors and governments, estimates Pakistan’s Board of Investment (BoI).

The projects, among others, include transport, shipping, energy, consumer goods, food processing and marketing, oil exploration and transport.

Inviting Kuwait to invest in CPEC projects, the Emir was explained its significance, broad contours and the fact that it will connect South-east China, Central Asia, Iran, Afghanistan on its east to north-west run and then connect UK and EU via Turkey and Pakistan which has the potential of a huge production base and shipping.

Pakistan urged Kuwaiti investors to invest in Pakistan. All sectors are open to them, also those located on and along the CPEC route, inside Pakistan, and at any location where the government has established special economic zones for profitable tax and tariff concessions and to promote production and export. The government provides cheap land and all services to operate industries.

Pakistan will continue to import a number of oil products and requested the Emir for assistance.

Trade volume needs to be further enhanced to its full potential, in sectors such as agriculture, construction, poultry, livestock and fisheries.

The Joint Ministerial Commission of Kuwait and Pakistan provides the best platform to take stock of bilateral cooperation in various economic sectors and set new benchmarks to carry this cooperation forward.

More than 1,000 leading multi-national companies – several dozen of them from the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia – are successfully operating in Pakistan.

They include high profit-earning financial institutions such as Bank Al Falah and Al Meezan Bank, and telecom operators such as Etisalat-Pakistan Telecom Ltd, Warid mobile and Qatar LNG, to name a few.

Pakistan also expects Kuwait to invest in its big, multi-billion dollar energy and infrastructure projects.

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