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.