07 - 13, 2009

Robert W. Gibson, British Deputy High Commissioner informed that Pak-UK bilateral trade is enhancing with ratio of 12% every year. London City recognizes the Commercial Potential of Karachi & Pakistan and expects value-addition in Pakistani exports to enhance bilateral trade.

UK investment in various projects of Pakistan reached to 400 million British Pounds. He said that trade had not suffered during the global recession however British businessmen were reluctant to visit Pakistan. He emphasized on regular exchange of trade delegations between two countries.

The British diplomat expressed cordial gratitude and compliments to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on completion of its Golden Jubilee. He appreciated that during the last 50 years KCCI has made commendable efforts to strengthen the trade, industry and economic activities of Pakistan

Robert W. Gibson, while addressing the eighth meeting of Diplomatic Affairs Sub-Committee of KCCI, expressed hope of flourishing commercial activities between UK and Pakistan.

Robert W. Gibson, British Deputy High Commissioner during his visits to UK, explained to British business circles that Pakistan was a very dynamic country with great potential of investment and had talented people who appreciated peace and harmony.

Pakistan is not what you see in e-Media and read in newspapers and certain quarters of foreign media portray gloomy picture about the law & orders situation. He said that he was working in Pakistan since last one & half years and noticed that law & order situation was much better than what was portrayed by foreign media.

He informed that British companies doing business in Pakistan were enjoying profitable business with satisfaction and most of them were expanding their business. Commenting on the Travel Advisory he said our responsibility was to advice but we could not compel anyone to visit or not to visit Pakistan. He said that situation in Karachi, Lahore & Islamabad was better and British visited these cities. Travel Advisory is reviewed with the span of time, he added.

Robert W. Gibson said that UK could provide advance agricultural technology to Pakistan and Pakistani farmers had to show their interests. He said that Royal Agricultural Exhibition would be held in UK soon and Pakistani Agriculture sector should participate in it.

He informed that presently 26 British companies were engaged in different sectors and investment in energy sector was also expected. Commenting on the issuance of visas, British Deputy High Commissioner said that visa issuance procedures was rationalized and applications from Pakistan were forwarded to UK Mission in Abu Dhabi where visa are processed according to the specified criteria and requirement of the Mission. Visas are processed on available evidences and refused due to incomplete or forged documentation.

Commenting on the GSP plus status for increasing Pakistan's market access to EU, British Deputy High Commissioner said that it was the job of governments to further the agenda and reach an agreement. He said that Pakistani value-added textile products were popular in UK and its export could be increased with further value-addition. He was of the opinion that Pak government must spend adequate amount of its budget in health and education sectors as healthy and educated population contributes to the economy.

President KCCI Anjum Nisar welcomed him and expressed his gratitude and high regards towards better relationship among the governments and people of both Pakistan and United Kingdom.

KCCI President drew the attention of British Deputy High Commissioner towards great export potential of Pakistan in value-added textile products, readymade garments, cotton yarn, woven fabrics, leather goods, surgical & sports goods, hand-made-carpets, mangoes, plastic articles, jewellery of gold fish and sea food. He said that imports from UK were machinery, boilers, mechanical appliances, iron & steel, chemical products, generators, transmission and telecom apparatus and pharmaceutical products.

Anjum Nisar also expressed his gratitude for UK's participation in Friends of Democratic Pakistan. However, he was of the view that Pakistan needed trade instead of aid.

Anjum Nisar stated that Pakistan-UK socio-economic relations were deep-rooted and encompassed on last many decades. Both countries are enjoying better relations and trade ties since 1947. Trade can be further enhanced due to trade potential. He appreciated that many British companies are enjoying business in Pakistan with better returns and with entire satisfaction and they are also contributing revenue to national exchequer along with providing employment opportunities.

KCCI President said that UK was the leading country having foreign direct investment in Pakistan. He urged that more British companies should come to Pakistan and invest in energy sector and agriculture sector. He stated that Pakistan should be recognized as agricultural country in the world.

He said that current economic scenario caused economic slowdown and economic activities faced a loss of $1.5 million due to energy crisis in Pakistan.

He urged the British Deputy High Commissioner to motivate British companies to invest in the energy and agriculture sector. He also requested him to reduce the British visa processing time from three months to three-week and stated that due to prolonged visa processing time, Pakistani businessmen very often lost their order and their counterparts from other countries took away orders from their buyers. He also lamented that due to travel advisory British businessmen were reluctant to visit Pakistan. He also criticized some quarters of foreign channels for biased reporting of law & order situation in Pakistan.

Anjum Nisar concluded his speech with optimism and expressed his desire that United Kingdom would continue its benevolent support to Pakistan to address the economic challenges through shifting its support from conventional aid to market access to UK, investment, technology transfer, education and training, scientific research and infrastructure development.

Muhammad Arif Balgamwala, Chairman, Diplomatic Affairs Sub-Committee-KCCI in his speech complimented the British Deputy High Commissioner for his efforts to promote bilateral trade and better ties between two countries. He drew the attention of British Deputy High Commissioner towards attractions in information technology, telecommunication, infrastructure development, value-added textile sector for British investors.

To further strengthen trade ties he suggested for annual exchange of trade delegation. He said that exchange of delegations between the Chambers of Commerce & Industry of both countries could be instrumental to increase the trade level. He lamented fisheries exports of Pakistan were suffering losses of $100 million every year due to ban in European Union which must be removed.