Oct 24 - 30, 20

International trade fairs and exhibitions are a common feature of the developed economies where hundreds of such events pull crowds from the potential buyer countries providing exposures to their products in the export market. But, unlike Pakistan's, international exhibitions of developed economies usually focus on specialized economic sector.

Though Pakistan is also trying to organize such events, yet we are far behind in holding exhibitions to grab the international markets primarily due to lack of resources, will of the policy makers and above all persistent security concerns. The security concerns and the exaggerated and negative reporting not only by foreign media but the local media as well contribute in tarnishing the image of the country.


--Around 1650 business meetings were held between the buyers and the Pakistani exhibitors/ manufacturers.

--Foreign buyers made 1093 visits to different products stalls.

--Export orders of US Dollar 517 Million were finalized in various products.

--15 MoUs have been signed.

--Hong Kong company ( M/s Ormita) signed an MoU with a Pakistani food company (M/s Alpha Dairies) of US Dollar 120 Million for the first year with a provision to go up to US Dollar 300 Million.

--Polish company is finalizing partnership deal with Pakistani company in IT Software with tentative US Dollar 1 Billion.

--A Polish company is interested in partnership with a Pakistani company for setting up a flood rehabilitation centre in DHA (An investment of US Dollar 122 Million)

It is the need of the hour that instead of highlighting export numbers, the policy makers especially the trade development authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and the foreign offices abroad should give more time to spruce up the country's image, and publicize the economic potential.

However, credit goes to TDAP for holding a great event of Expo Pakistan and attracting a record number of foreign participants. According to TDAP, over 600 foreign guests arrived to visit the biggest ever mega event at Karachi Expo Center last week.

In his opening remarks, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said that despite the difficult conditions, Pakistan is still one of the best destinations for doing business and investments, which is reflected in the impressive turnout of foreign visitors at the expo.

He also advised the government agencies to simplify procedures, reduce red-tapism and enhance transparency and efficiency in creating a business friendly environment in the country. He expressed the hope that the 6th Expo Pakistan would pave the way for enhancing exports of the quality products from the country.

Top brands from all over the world and three hundred domestic companies from diversified sectors displayed their products at the exhibition where spot sale was also allowed.

Federal minister for commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim while inaugurating the Expo Pakistan said that such attractive events would greatly help promote our exports and bring more foreign investments in various sectors of the country. "It would give a good exposure to foreign investors and help stop flight of capital from the country and hopefully this Expo will help achieve our exports target," he said.

While assisting the minister, CEO, TDAP Tariq Puri said that more than 600 foreign importers were expected to visit this international trade exhibition. These included from Russia, China, Japan, and France. The federal minister said the PPP-led Government was trying its best to improve energy situation in the country.

The work on Pak-Iran Gas Pipeline project was in progress. "We are using all available sources including the import of gas to meet our domestic and industrial demands," he said. When his attention was drawn to the recent positive developments between Pakistan and India on economic front, Makhdoom Amin Fahim confirmed that many trade related issues were settled. Future strategy on bilateral trade would be finalized during the meeting to be held in the current month.

Tariq Puri was excited with what he said the overwhelming response from all over the world despite bad law and order situation in the recent past in Karachi. He said it depicted the great economic strength of the country as the Expo Pakistan was a record breaking event in terms of turnout of the global players, generating revenue as well as export orders by the foreign buyers.

In order to reciprocate the outstanding support to Pakistan products by friendly country China in its recent exhibitions, Pakistan also allowed an exclusive pavilion for Chinese and Japanese products while the Chinese companies displayed their electric cars and scooters in the exhibition, which was an attraction for a big crowd at the expo.

Beside the exhibition, a multilateral investment conference was also held at a local hotel where leading investors from 13 countries participated in the conference that discussed business opportunities and possibilities for joint ventures with local trade and industry. The Pakistan expo event was extended for four days from earlier three days to give more time to the foreign as well as local participants and the people to witness the economic strength of the country. In this respect, two days were earmarked for foreign visitors and participants while remaining two days were reserved for local visitors.

Tariq Iqbal Puri said that such events help painting a positive image of the country, as the participants would themselves witness the friendly environment and help encourage investors for doing business in Pakistan. The mega event has resulted in 100 percent occupancy of rooms in all the city hotels, which is a great indicator of rebounded economic activities.

There is also a need for organizing agriculture exhibitions at least twice in a year to find new markets and new buyers. However, value addition and quality production of agriculture and horticulture products is a pre-requisite to achieve this cherished goal.

Although Pakistan is already exporting over 50 percent of its rice production, this cash crop needs value addition, which would certainly give a quantum jump to the value and volume of rice exports. Similarly, the citric fruits especially Kinno and juicy mangoes are unparallel in the world. It is unfortunate that a considerable amount of our fresh fruits, vegetables, and even seafood perish due to lack of preservation facility. The area of preservation of perishable items is of vital important to optimize value of our exports.