TRADE BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND UK

Information and Communication technology is opening up a whole new world of commerce

From Shamim Ahmed Rizvi,
 Islamabad

Oct 04 - 10, 2004

A trade mission comprising representatives of more than a dozen British organizations and companies visited Pakistan between September 20 to 25 under the leadership of Mr. Michael Brosch Director of International Trade for Nottinghamshire to explore possibilities of enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries. The visit which was organized by Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry had the full backing and support of the UK Trade and Investment, the United Kingdom export and investment promotion body.

Unveiling the programme of the trade mission, the British Deputy High Commissioner said that the visit demonstrate the great and growing potential for two-way trade and business between the United Kingdom and Pakistan. The Anglo-Pak community exceeding 80 hundred thousand some of them leading figures in trade and business circules of UK are keen to invest and enter in joint ventures with Pakistani business community.

The leader of the trade mission said Nottinghamshire, in the center of England, recognizes the strength of its Anglo-Pakistani business community and its desire to develop commercial links with Pakistan, based on a clear understanding of the practical needs of a fast developing economy. "The UK can provide with a route into the European Union market as well as a source of the technology required to enable economic progress to be made", he added. He recalled that as a direct consequence of cooperation agreements signed on previous Nottinghamshire Chamber-led missions, the Media Integrated Learning Center (MILC) will be introducing UK Multimedia & Internet and Media & Communications studies programmes.

These study programme will be offered in Pakistan in collaboration with Preston Institute of Management, Sciences and Technology (PIMSAT). He informed and added that student interested in enrolling should contact the local representative of either MILC or PMSAT.

Highlighting the programme, Michael Brosh said, "Information and Communication technology is opening up a whole new world of commerce and related job opportunities. As information and communication technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, so the training of personnel qualified to use it has increased its importance. Previously, persons with qualifications had to travel to places where those skills were valued. Now, there are means to deliver and secure payment from the client in London to the specialist in Karachi. He said MILC will also use the visit to seek other possible partners in the television and film industry for joint ventures in Pakistan and UK. Moreover, it was informed that two companies supplying machinery to the shoe industry are looking for business relationship with established or newly emerging companies in Pakistan.

Anglo Italian Machinery Company (Aimco), UK, supplies new and rebuilt equipment and believes there are opportunities for expansion, and increased export to Pakistan. Machines are available for a wide variety of applications in the shoe manufacturing process, including stitching, folding, eyeleting, cutting, lasting, direct folding and insole preparation. As well as supplying machinery of the shoe industry sewtech offers machine for the leather and textile industries. The company is actively looking to open new markets in Pakistan, and has already received enquiries via its web site. During the visit it hopes to develop this interest into sound business relationships.

Visiting Pakistan for the second time is Merton Steel, a multi disciplinary metal and plastics trading company, specializing in multi item sourcing and supply. Since first visiting in the region, the company has won orders in the petrochemical, shipbuilding and engineering sectors, and plans to build on this success. Queensland Group is a specialist importer and exporters of furniture product for the commercial and residential markets. Additionally, it offers fire-retardancy products, and commercial feasibility reports on the security for building in relation to fire and security.

In a press briefing, Mr. Michael disclosed that the Anglo-Pakistan Business Community in the United Kingdom is willing to make investments in Pakistan as there are more opportunities of doing business in Pakistan as compared to UK. Highlighting the purpose of the visit of trade mission, Michael Brosch said UK has a good economy as compared to Pakistan but Pakistan has huge potential of doing business, as many opportunities exist in the country. He told that British Pakistanis, who were born and living in UK are willing to made investment in their own country.

Responding to a query on security situation and Pakistan's image in West, he clarified that the image, in the past two years, has improved significantly owing to the advancements and improvements in the economy of Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy High Commissioner, Hamish Daniel highlighted that they have a whole series of trade missions coming to Pakistan and this is the first trade mission, which will be followed by two more trade missions next week. More trade missions will be coming to Pakistan next year, he added. He claimed that UK is the biggest investor in Pakistan as they will have an investment of over a billion pounds in Pakistan and they are also planning to provide funds to launch a campaign in collaboration with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) against honor killings in the province of Sindh. He informed that currently, there are 80,000 British nationals residing in Pakistan and 0.8 million Pakistanis residing in UK that clearly indicates the strong relationship of both countries.

Responding to a query, he said that British Pakistan Business Advisory Council, established Prime Minister, Tony Blair and President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, is still active and is playing significant role in promoting trade between the two countries.

He told that during the visit, they will hold meetings with Chambers of Commerce of Pakistan and Small and Medium Enterprises Associations and will focus on making investments in development of infrastructure, education and training sectors. Emphasizing on the potential of market and opportunities that exist in Pakistan, be also reiterated that the younger generation British Pakistanis is keen to make investment in the country. He said that the British companies have successfully made investment in China and now they are determined to invest in Pakistan to further promote trade and economic ties between the two countries.