Sir Ghulam Noon, former President London Chamber of
Commerce and Industry, while talking about recent blasts in Britain,
observed that it is nothing to scare about as extremist elements are
trying to spoil the atmosphere, but the situation is fast returning to
Speaking as the guest speaker at Lahore Chamber of
Commerce and Industry, Sir Ghulam Noon said, "There exists a lot
of opportunities for Pakistani entrepreneurs in United Kingdom and
they should avail the same to the maximum".
LCCI President Mian Misbahur Rehman and Senior Vice
President Sohail Lashari also spoke on the occasion. Sir Ghulam Noon
said that the Britain is one of the major shareholders in Pakistan's
industry and this volume of investment could go to new heights if
concerted efforts were made in right direction. In this age of
technological advancement, only those businesses would survive which
would keep pace with the fast changing global scenario, he observed.
Mian Misbahur Rehman said, "The business
communities of the two countries should keep on exploring the
opportunities of mutual interest. Business delegations composed of
sector-specific participants or product-specific group of
entrepreneurs should be organized regularly as business houses can
always join hands to yield tangible results". Pakistan and United
Kingdom enjoy good economic relations, though trade between the two
countries is progressing, it is not up to the mark and leaves much to
Trade volume between the two countries during
2003-04 was $ 1.38 billion where Pakistan's exports were US$ 940.9
million against imports of $ 438.2 million. The Foreign Direct
Investment (FDI) from U.K. increased from US$ 64.9 million in 2004-05
to US$ 181.5 million in 2003-04. The LCCI President said that the
level of trade between the two countries could be increased
significantly by removing anti-dumping duties imposed @ 13.1% by the
European Union on the export of bed linen from Pakistan and avoiding
change in the Rules of Origin, which would result in relocation of
entire value-added textile sector to less developed countries. Mian
Misbah said that Pakistan is on the road to political and economic
The outgoing fiscal year was an eventful year in
which its real GDP grew by 8.4% as against 6.4% in the preceding year.
While the overall manufacturing registered a growth of 12.5%, large
scale manufacturing and services sector posted respectable growth
figures of 15.4% and 7.9%, respectively. Pakistan is a key market
having a population of 153 million and its manpower is highly capable.
Labor is comparatively cheap. Investment operations based in Pakistan
would not be restricted to the Pakistani market alone but would find
their way to India and Central Asian States.
The establishment of Gawadar Port and Sundar
Industrial Estate offer huge opportunities of investment by British
citizens. Some of the portion of Sundar Industrial Estate in Lahore
has been reserved exclusively for foreigners. To be specific, Pakistan
offers immense scope for investors in information technology,
telecommunication, textiles (value-added), oil & gas, water &
power, food & food processing, SMEs, engineering, tourism and
services etc. These potentials need to be studied and monitored by the
British investors, particularly those having Pakistani origin. The
investment policy has been liberalized and made business friendly. All
economic sectors have been opened to foreign direct investment. Free
movement of foreign exchange has been allowed. Foreigners have free
access to capital markets and there are no restrictions on
repatriation of principal, dividends and profit, etc. There is no
limit on equity held by foreigners and no requirement for entering
into a joint venture with a Pakistani counterpart. There is no
restriction on borrowing if government guarantees are not sought.
Overseas Pakistanis who bring US$ 20 million for investment would be
provided 10 acres of land free of cost for undertaking their ventures.
The LCCI Senior Vice President, Sohail Lashari, said that Pakistanis
living in United Kingdom should invest in industrial sector back home
as industry is growing fast and the right decision would not only
eliminate poverty but would also bring down the graph of unemployment.
The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and
various associations of the city recently discussed in detail the
Sensitive List of items being finalized by the government in the wake
of SAFTA. The participants of the discussions included Collector
Customs, Mahboob Saqib Khan and Additional Collector Dry Ports Shujaut
Din, LCCI President Mian Misbahur Rehman, Senior Vice President Sohail
Lashari, Vice President Sheikh Mohammad Arshad, besides leading
business leaders Mian Ashraf, Iftikhar Ali Malik, Sheikh Mohammad Asif,
and representatives of the city associations.
The LCCI called the meeting keeping in view the
significance of the Sensitive List and potentially adverse impact
arising out of the omission of any item on which tariff protection
needs to be maintained under SAFTA. The aforesaid list incorporates
those items on which no tariff concession will be allowed by Pakistan
under preferential trading system of SAFTA to SAARC member countries.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Committee of Experts (COE) on
SAFTA at its 9th meeting held in Katmandu (19-22 July, 2005) decided
that each member would review its Sensitive List prior to the last
meeting of COE on SAFTA.