'CONSISTENT POLICIES COULD BOOST PAK-KOREA TRADE'
Pakistan fast becoming a safe haven for foreign investment, says S. Korean Ambassador
KHALID BUTT, Bureau Chief, Lahore
Dec 18 - 24, 2006
The Ambassador of South Korea, Kim Jooseok, has expressed optimism that the volume of trade between Pakistan and South Korea is bound to increase if the consistency in policies would be maintained for a few more years. He said that the economic reforms initiated by the present regime have already started yielding results and the South Korean businessmen were quite impressed with the economic growth of Pakistan and the country was fast becoming a safe haven for foreign investment.
The South Korean Ambassador was speaking at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI President Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Senior Vice President Yaqoob Tahir Izhar, former President Shahzada Alam Mannoo, Mian Misbahur Rehman and former Senior Vice President Sohail Lashari also spoke on the occasion.
The Ambassador said that the non-availability of required trade-related information is the biggest hurdle in the way of South Korean investment in Pakistan, which is very little compared to its business with the rest of the world. The diplomat, while identifying a number of areas for mutual cooperation, said that there is a need for the technology transfer as both the countries have a lot to learn from each other. He said that there is a big potential in the fruit business as Pakistani business community could avail opportunities in this sector. He admitted that the Koreans had learnt a lot from Pakistan in the agriculture sector in 60s and urged the LCCI to arrange a sector-specific delegation to South Korea so that Pakistani businessmen could have firsthand knowledge about opportunities there.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Shahid Hassan Sheikh suggested that the Korean industrialists should set up Special Economic Zones or Korean City in Pakistan for putting up independent or joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts. He said that to create a win-win situation for both the countries, Koreans need to increase their imports of cotton, raw hides & skins, fish, medical apparatus, toys & games, leather products, apparel and textile articles from Pakistan. Most of the Korean demand for these commodities is being met by Korea from sources other than Pakistan and only a small fragment is being imported from Pakistan. A little attention by the Korean government and businessmen can considerably increase Pakistan's exports to Korea. The LCCI President said that South Korea is one of the important trading partners of Pakistan, sharing 1.79% of Pakistan's total trade, 1.16% of Pakistan's exports and 2.16 % of Pakistan's imports in the year 2005-06.
LCCI's Senior Vice President Yaqoob Tahir Izhar called for increasing Korean investment in Pakistan. He informed the ambassador that Pakistan's large market of 156 million people, its strategic location as principal gateway to the Central Asian States and other regional countries offer lot of opportunities for relocation of Korean industries in Pakistan.
Pakistan is developing Gwader deep seaport and other necessary infrastructure to provide trade and energy corridor to these countries. Pakistan is a free enterprise country and is open to Foreign Direct Investment in all the sectors. There is no restriction on repatriation of capital, profits, dividends and profits from Pakistan.
LSE PLEDGES SCHOLARSHIPS FOR LUMS STUDENTS
The Lahore Stock Exchange (LSE), in its efforts to promote education sector in Pakistan, is providing scholarships to the students at LUMS University. A MoU was signed at the LUMS campus to pledge the scholarship for an MBA student and a BSc student as well as funding for research in the area of capital markets. On this occasion LSE Chairman Ibrar A Mumtaz and Syed Zahoor Hassan singed the agreement.
Dr. Shahid A Zia, Ch Muhammad Afzal Rahat, Umar Khalil and Mian Shakil Asla also attended the event.