ICC-BOI inviting international investors to Pakistan

Feb-11 - 17, 2002

A 2-day International Investment Conference, being organized jointly by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in collaboration with Board of Investment (BOI) in Karachi on Feb17-18.

The focus of the conference is to highlight the opportunities, incentives, and the salient features of the government policies towards foreign investment in Pakistan.

Hafeez Shaikh, Finance Minister of Sindh, Arif Ellahi, Director General Board of Investment, speaking at a press briefing spell out about investment opportunities available in Pakistan and expressed the hope that a boom of foreign investment is expected in the days to come.

Tariq Rangoonwala, Head of the ICC (Pakistan Chapter) outlining the objectives of the forthcoming conference said that besides 300-400 participants some 70 delegates would be foreign delegates from US, Canada, Turkey, UAE, Australia, Belgium, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Iran and India would take part in the deliberation.

Present on the occasion John K. Bauman, Consul General of the United States of America in Karachi said that tremendous opportunities for foreign investment are coming in Pakistan especially after lifting of sanctions against Pakistan. He said a US delegation of the investors is coming to Pakistan next week, which will participate in the investment conference. The US diplomat said that security however remained as one of the main concerns of the foreign investors. The government in Pakistan however has done a marvellous job during the last 2 years. He expressed the hope that the US delegation would take message back for the investors regarding the areas and opportunities available in Pakistan.

His short address however carried the punching line " Key to economic growth lies in less aid and more trade".

Some of the objectives of the ICC Conference are the ratification and enforcement of the international agreements and conventions signed by Pakistan,

The ratification and implementation of which will not only open up the region and Pakistan for trade and transport but will also result in being a destination for major foreign direct investment hitherto unmatched in its magnitude. These include the New York Convention, the Istanbul Convention, The TIR Convention and the Trips Agreement on IPR and Copyrights.

The Conference modules focus on areas that are essential to stabilize the business environment and increase the pace of growth and development in our region and globally.

A session on Privatization, Deregulation and Liberalization will look at how foreign direct investment can be encouraged towards the privatization of state enterprises in Pakistan as well as the methodology of privatization. The speakers in this session would be Altaf Saleem, Minister for Privatization, Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Governor State Bank of Pakistan and Ross J. Conelly, OPIC, USA and James Lambright, EXIM Bank, USA.

The session on Energy will look at the issue of Pakistan's numerous untapped gas fields and at the same time a huge unfulfilled demand. The session will also focus on the question relating to transnational eastbound gas pipelines from West and Central Asia and its feasibility. What are the stumbling blocks? Can international cooperation be achieved? Can international funds be raised? Can regional Consensus on Energy pipelines be achieved? The energy session will be addressed by Usman Aminuddin, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, Carl B. Kress of the Trade Development Agency (TDA) USA Paul Samson, BHP Billiton, Australia and Vincent Harrris, CEO Hub Power.

The session on Information Technology, E-Commerce and Telecommunications will focus on the opportunities and challenges offered by the new economy as well areas relating to building a world class software business and the importance of venture capital as a source of funding. The IOT session will be addressed by Richard D. McCormick, President ICC along with Madame Maria Livanos Cattaui, ICC Secretary General, Paris, Nasir Ali Shah Bukhari Chairman of Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari, Salman Ansari Advisor to the Ministry of Science and Technology on IT and Telecom, Pakistan.

The session on Transport, Shipping and Logistics will look into the incentives needed to attract investment in the road, rail, shipping and air transport sectors.

The IPR & Copyrights session will focus on the issues faced by business in implementing effective protection of intellectual property rights in Pakistan.

Another special session will be on the private sector participation in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The two sessions on Arbitration would provide an overview of the ICC Arbitration system and present case studies by senior legal experts including Khalid Anwar, A.K Brohi and Co and Hafeez Pirzada.

The closing session on the potential of regional economic synergies would seek to implement specific policy measures and enhanced economic activity through greater interaction.

The Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz will deliver the keynote address.