UAE FOR INCREASE OF TRADE & INVESTMENTS

MOHAMMED ARIFEEN
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

Mar 12 - 18, 20
12

Trade between Pakistan and UAE continues to increase, reaching $6.7 billion last year. Bilateral trade volume of both countries for the year 2010-2011 was $7.236 billion, out of which Pakistani exports constituted about $1.8 billion of rice, textile, meat, livestock, carpet and leather products, whereas the exports from UAE to Pakistan remained $5.4 billion including mostly petroleum products, paperboards, iron, plastic, machinery, etc.

UAE has investments in different sectors including transport, energy, agriculture, fruit and vegetable and others. It has also pinpointed lands in Sindh and Punjab for modern farming and corporate farming.

United Arab Emirates is interested to cultivate agricultural goods in Pakistan and is also ready to make small dams for irrigation on the condition agricultural goods from Pakistan should not be stopped exporting to UAE.

Chief Minister Sindh has doled out agriculture land in Sindh to UAE for cultivation of high protein animal food 'Alfalfa' and exporting it to UAE.

There are still huge opportunities for UAE investors in various fields of renewable energy, oil and gas, hydro-petroleum refineries, technology, agriculture, infrastructure and other sectors in Pakistan.

UAE has one of the richest divergence of foreign labour. UAE is one of the major employers of Pakistani expatriates, with about 1.2 million gainfully employed here. UAE now tops the list as the largest source of foreign exchange remittances by overseas Pakistanis who make valuable contributions towards its development and phenomenal success, while at the same time, earning valuable foreign exchange for Pakistan.

According to the World Bank report, UAE further intends to invest $6 billion for oil refinery project in Pakistan. Besides, UAE has announced a loan of $256 million for big dams in Pakistan on soft terms.

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has said that the strategic partnership between Pakistan and UAE is characterized by extensive cooperation in various fields. The UAE EXPO and many other such exhibitions would go a long way in further exploring new vistas of trade and economic opportunities, he added.

UAE and Pakistan have agreed to resolve the issues concerning to the PTCL privatization, Parco Refinery and investment in New Khalifa Refinery in Balochistan. The UAE side has promised $70 million grant for the construction of houses for IDP's in Malakand as committed in FoDP Forum in Tokyo and also agreed to sign $100 million loan agreement for Neelam-Jhelum Hydro Project in Pakistan.

UAE stresses the need for closer cooperation between the private sectors of the two countries and enhance the present trade volume of $6.7 billion per annum for which there exists a great potential.

President Asif Ali Zardari has sought UAE's help for Free Trade Agreement with GCC countries, which would pave the way for increased commercial activity between Pakistan and the Gulf countries.

Pakistan could increase its exports to the UAE particularly of food products and fast moving commodities, as more than 50 percent of the same were re-exported to other countries. Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar recently met Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, the Minister for Foreign Trade of the UAE. They discussed ways and means to further enhance economic and commercial ties between the two brotherly countries.

The Foreign Minister underlined the need for linking women business forums of Pakistan with those of the UAE. She added that Pakistan was following "trade not aid policy to stabilize its economy". She requested for UAE's support for early finalization of Pakistan-GCC Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The Minister of Foreign Trade assured her government's full support for Pakistan-GCC FTA and stated that the UAE valued its relations with Pakistan due to the two countries' long and deep brotherly affinities.

United Arab Emirates and Pakistan will soon find a friendly solution to a standoff on final payment of a $2.6 billion telecom deal under which Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (Etisalat) acquired 26 per cent stake in Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (Ptcl), with management rights in 2006. The two countries have agreed a mechanism to settle the long-standing dispute and the remaining payment of over $800 million will be settled within weeks.

The construction of a strategic highway between Wana and Angoor Ada in South Waziristan, Pakistan, will be funded by the UAE through the Khalifa Bin Zayed Foundation. In addition to infrastructure development, the UAE is currently constructing 51 projects comprising 41 schools and ten institutes and colleges.

The recent announcement of a further $100 million development program for Pakistan has been greatly welcomed by Pakistan. The project will focus on the much-needed development particularly in the flood-hit areas. It would provide funding for education, public health, as well as infrastructure development, and has been structured in such a way that it would also provide job opportunities. In short, with all its pure heart it is playing a strategic role in the economic prosperity of Pakistan.