PRESIDENT FOREIGN VISITS
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Finland responded well and appeared willing to invest in Pakistan

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From Shamim Ahemd Rizvi,
 Islamabad

July 19 - 25, 2004
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President Pervez Musharraf' visit to Sweden, Fin Land in Europe and the Central Asian Muslim State Azerbaijan will boost trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and the three countries. The Pakistan delegation headed by the President emphasized mainly on promotion of economic ties in talks with host countries and received encouraging response from all of them specially from Azerbaijan.

Finland responded well and appeared willing to invest in Pakistan. Azerbaijan, willing to enhance trade and economic relations agreed to boost ties in the fields of energy, information technology, food and agriculture, tourism and enhancing trade value between the two countries. The two countries, having common views on most of the international and regional issues agreed to cooperate and work together on matters like Iraq Pakistan and Kashmir. Pakistan and Azerbaijan singed a series of agreements covering the tourism trade, customs and combating drugs trade and international terrorism.

Pakistan is also interested in tapping into Azerbaijan Oil Industry expertise to help Pakistan exploit its own resources. Azerbaijan is rich in crude oil and has been extracting oil for nearly a century and has developed high expertise in this field. Acknowledging this fact, President Musharraf observed that the country has great experience in this field and "we want to use that experience through working together and have joint ventures". He said "the unique character of over political relations is that we understand each other and support each other", adding that we have agreed to work together on regional and international issues including Kashmir dispute, Iraq, Afghanistan and Israeli-Palestine on conflict. "We have agreed to coordination our actions in future".

Describing his visit to Finland as 'positive and satisfactory' President Pervez Musharraf expressed hope that this would lead to further strengthening the mutual relations between the two countries. He said Finland expressed its willingness to enhance its investment in Pakistan for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

Addressing a news conference following his meeting with the Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, the President said interaction with the Finnish leadership was warm and cordial and both sides expressed earnest desire to further enhance political, economic and trade relationship. Talking to the business community to take advantage of several incentives being offered by the Pakistan government to facilitate investment, the President said Pakistan, with a huge population of 150 million and cheap labour, offers ideal investment opportunities for foreign investment.

 

 

The president spoke about the steps taken by his government for the revival of national economy and said there has been no change in the economic policies in the last four years, adding that consistency would been on sured in the national interest and for the benefit of the investor. He also spoke about the measures taken by his government to attract foreign investment by reducing the cost of business and liberal incentives being offered to the investors. The measures include developing the communication infrastructure and setting up of new industrial estates with full facilities. He said the Finnish entrepreneurs could invest in information technology, telecommunication, engineering sector, good processing and agro-based industry.

President Musharraf said Pakistan has made significant progress in the electronics and electrical appliances, but there was still room for investment in these areas. One of the leading fields, he said, that could serve as a major attraction for investors, is the energy sector. He said Pakistan has abundance of water, coal and gas. To reduce the cost of electricity generation, it has been decided to replace thermal power plants with gas, which is much cheaper as well as coal of which a huge reservoir has been discovered in Sindh.

President Musharraf's emphasis on promotion of economic and trade ties with Sweden and Finland, during his visits to the two Scandinavian nations, represents Pakistan's objective response to the impending challenges emerging from the fast approaching WTO regime. Enhancement of interstate economic and trade ties is, in fact, the need of the hour, as that will alone guarantee survival of the developing nations in the coming decades. As a developing nation, Pakistan too is among those countries, which have to depend on foreign investment to step up economic progress. It also has to diversify its economic and trade relations with other countries to survive as a viable economy in the 21st country. President Musharraf is thus rightly focusing on commercial and economic ties with the developed nations to seek investment, which is the tool for socio-economic development of a country. Pakistan has made strides in economic field, yet it has to go a long way to achieve economic prosperity, although the path has been set right and efforts are being made by the government to achieve rapid economic growth. A pragmatic diversification of Pakistan's commercial and trade ties with other countries can play a vital role in achieving the cherished goal of boosting the economy.