'Being a new member of ASEAN Forum, Pakistan has a big attraction for investors'

From KHALID BUTT, Lahore
Aug 22 - 28, 2005

Hantex PCL of Thailand in collaboration with Habib Rafique Group will make more than $ 20 million investment in textile and hotel sectors in Pakistan. Both the companies signed a formal agreement in this regard recently in the presence of Thai Consul General in Lahore Zia H Rizvi. The Habib Rafique Group was represented by Mr Khalid Rafique, the LCCI Executive Member, while Mr Somchai Chawala signed the agreement on behalf of Hantex.

It is pertinent to mention here that a high-powered Thai delegation is in Pakistan these days to explore trade opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.

Soon after signing of the agreement, Somchai Chawala said that the company took the decision to make investment in Pakistan after taking into consideration all aspects of the business scenario in Pakistan. He said that there are a lot of opportunities for foreign investors in Pakistan and they should avail these opportunities.

Somchai Chawala said that being a new member of ASEAN Forum, Pakistan has a big attraction for investors as structural reforms, practical macroeconomic policies and financial discipline have transformed it into a stable and growing economy.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI Executive Member Khalid Rafique said that the Lahore Chamber had always been making efforts to bring in more and more foreign investment in Pakistan and the recent visit of LCCI delegation, led by its President Mian Misbahur Rehman, to various European countries was enough to prove it.

The LCCI Executive Member urged the Thai businessmen to make concerted and sector-specific efforts to exploit trade opportunities to strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and Thailand. He said that the visit of the Thai delegation is of special significance as Pakistan is entering into a new phase of its development process, whereby huge opportunities for joint ventures and investment in the fields of information technology, tourism, hotel industry, pharmaceutical, housing and construction would be generated.

He said that the visit of such a high-powered delegation would help increase the level of understanding between the two countries and highlight the prospects of economic cooperation between Pakistan and Thailand. He said that exchange of delegations always bring positive results in bilateral economic relations.

Khalid Rafique said a broad-based economic recovery has already taken place, adding that the economic indicators in terms of Gross Domestic Product, Balance of Payments and Foreign Exchange Reserves are much stronger today than ever before.

"Today our foreign exchange reserves stand at 12.40 billion dollars. We have also witnessed a substantial increase in total foreign private investment, which has touched the figure of 1,170 million dollars," he added .

Traditionally, Thailand and Pakistan enjoy steady economic and trade relations with strong commitment to deal collectively with global issues. Both the countries have maintained sustained trade relations, which is evident from the volume of trade between the two countries. Pakistan's exports to Thailand consist of textile yarn, fabrics, petroleum, crude, leather, leather products, cloth accessories, fish & fish preparations, cotton waste and surgical instruments, whereas it is importing organic chemicals, refined sugarcane, polypropylene, rubber manufactures, electrical machinery, paper, paperboard & articles, non-ferrous metals, iron and steel, betel leaves, chemical materials and products, dyeing and tanning material, inorganic chemicals and professional instruments from Thailand.

Thailand's economy is one of the faster growing economies in South East Asia and can be a role model for Pakistan in many areas e.g. "one product one village approach".

Khalid Rafique said: "Taking advantage of your presence here today I would like to say that there is a dire need to develop close liaison between private sectors of Pakistan and Thailand. He said that Pakistan could share experience of Thailand in "one product one village" strategy. He said Pakistan should adopt modern techniques for exchange of information and market research to take advantage of each other's experience in different fields. Gems, tourism, construction and hotel industries are such areas where both the countries could initiate joint ventures."


Effective university-industry linkage is necessary to cope with day-to-day challenges and if universities fail to come up to the requirements of the industry, the wheel of the economy would not be able to keep pace.

These views were expressed by the LCCI President, Mian Misbahur Rehman, while addressing the students of Masters of Business Administration (MBA), University of Faisalabad.

The Secretary, Wing Commander Mohammad Younas also spoke on the occasion.

Mian Misbah said that the educational institutions should know and understand the needs of the industry and adjust their priorities accordingly. He said the LCCI on its part had formalized such linkage with Government College University and also with TEVTA and SMEDA.

Mian Misbah said that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry was striving to strengthen the linkage between university and the industry as the lack of proper coordination has made both the sides suffer for the last many decades.