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1- DISRUPTION IN GAS SUPPLY
2- INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
3- KAPCO TO BE A GOOD ADDITION TO BOURSES
4- JAPAN'S ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN
5- GROWTH OF TELECOM SECTOR IN YEAR 2004


JAPAN'S ASSISTANCE TO PAKISTAN

 

Strengthen the bilateral economic and commercial relations

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From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi,
Islamabad
Jan 17 - 30, 2005
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Japan has agreed to resume Pakistan's about $ 500 million annual assistance under the yen loan package and Official Development Assistance from March this year. This was stated by Mr. Nishiyanar, Director Trade Japanese Ministry of Commerce while briefing newsmen on the separate meetings of visiting Japanese Minister for Economy & Trade Industry, Shoicho Nakagawa, with President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Commerce Minister Mr. Humayun Akhtar Khan's visit to Islamabad last week.

Answering a question, he said the amount of yen loan was nearly $ 500 million at the time of suspension and forthcoming amount depends on the selection of projects. He said the issue of PTA was raised by Pakistani authorities, but the Japanese minister explained that his country would like to change the mode of bilateral economic relations.

President Pervez Musharraf, during the meeting, urged that both the countries should explore new avenues to enhance bilateral trade. He also added that Japan should take into account geographical proximately for enhancing trade with Pakistan.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz appreciated the Japanese role in helping tsumani victims and said Pakistan would like to purchase Japanese early warning system. The Prime Minister also briefed the Japanese Minister on domestic economic performance.

Nakagawa, in his meeting with Commerce Minister Humann Akhtar Khan, said that any technical impediments in improving bilateral relations would be removed and Japan could provide technical assistance especially for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), which were the backbone of industrial development.

He observed that human resources in Pakistan have the capacity to develop latest skills as Pakistan was producing surgical instruments and sector balls of high quality and there was a need to provide managerial and technical skills for further development of these sectors.

 

 

The Commerce Minister said that a joint study group (JSG) should be established to work for bilateral market access initiatives in the manner of the ongoing efforts of Pakistan with the US, China, Singapore, etc. The Japanese minister noted the proposal and consented to work on it further to develop a strategy after discussing it with stakeholders in Japan. The visit was in sequence of the dialogue initiated on bilateral economic cooperation during the visit of President Musharraf in March, 2002. Two rounds of talks were held in September 2003 and February 2004 in Tokyo and Islamabad, respectively.

The visiting minister informed that the resumption of yen loan to Pakistan was being considered and processed in Japan and a positive outcome was expected in the month of March 2005 when a delegation of Japanese businessmen, accompanied by senior officials of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) would also visit Pakistan, which would further help strengthen the bilateral economic and commercial relations, Japanese Minister observed that the human resources in Pakistan had the capacity and it was producing surgical equipments and soccer balls of high quality. There was a need to provide managerial and technical skills for further development in these sectors, he added.

Humanyn Akhtar briefly explained the present scenario of economic development and the government policy on export-led growth. He underscored the need for better market access for Pakistani exports in Japan and to increase bilateral trade upto its potential Mr. Khan proposed to establish a Joint Study Group to work for bilateral market access initiatives in the manner of the ongoing efforts of Pakistan with US, China, Singapore, etc. The Japanese Minister consented to work on it further to develop the strategy after discussing it with the stakeholders in Japan.

Japan had suspended Pakistan's assistance following nuclear explosion in May 1998. The resumption of the loan package and the ODA grant has been decided by the Japanese Government due to Pakistan's commitment to peace, fight against terrorism and modification of various regulations for opening up its various sectors for foreign investment. It will mark an end to the economic sanctions that Tokyo had imposed against Islamabad as a result of its nuclear tests.

Japan has been Pakistan's major trade and economic partner. Its decision manifests recognition of Pakistan's prudent financial policies and improvement in its economy as well as its potential to pursue macroeconomic agenda. It's hoped that the presumption of the Yen Loan Package and ODA will revive the traditional economic relationship between the two countries and Pakistan will be able to learn from Japan's phenomenal economic progress.

The fact is that Pakistan has ample potentials for economic growth of eight percent in a couple of years and the resumption of Japanese aid will contribute towards realization of its goal. The visiting Japanese Minister had fruitful meetings with President Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. The President focused on the attractive investment climate exists in Pakistan and invited Japanese entrepreneurs to come forward and take advantage of the incentives available here. Pakistan affords a level playing field both to the domestic and foreign investors. Mr. Shoichi Nakagawa discussed measures to enhance economic relations and bilateral trade between the two countries during his meeting with Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. It has been decided that a delegation of Japanese businessmen accompanied by senior officials of the Japanese Ministry of Trade and Industry will visit Pakistan in March next to further help strengthen the bilateral economic and commercial relations between the two countries. What Pakistan needs is greater market access for Pakistani products in Japan and to increase bilateral trade up to its potentials. That will, of course, boost Pakistan's exports and will help her face the challenges that WTO is posing to the developing countries.