FOREIGN TRADE OPPORTUNITIES

CHINA, ROMANIA, BELARUS & ROMANIA WILLING TO ENHANCE TRADE

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)
Dec 24 - 30, 20
12

Despite having an ample scope for increasing trade volume with friendly countries the private sector in Pakistan seems confronted with domestic problems like shortage of gas, electricity load shedding, high cost of petroleum products as well as cost of financing which are the major factors for producing export surplus at competitive prices.

In order to improve our foreign trade it is quite important to short list priorities areas and builds up economy of scale capacity in various segments to be competitive in the world market.

Recently diplomats from various friendly countries indicated positive signs for enhancing two trade with Pakistan specially Mr. Gao Xiging, President of China Investment Corporation (CIC), while addressing the business community at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) said that bilateral relations on trade and industry between China and Pakistan to get new face as two countries are great friends and Pakistan is one of the best friends of China.

Opportunities for joint ventures in different sector do exist. So far, China-Pakistani economic and trade cooperation has seen good progress. He also said that Pakistan is also our neighbor country and Chinese always feel safe in Pakistan . Pakistan has very good potential in different fields. China is also giving new face to its industry with sector diversification. China-Pakistan's trade and economic cooperation has seen good progress. China Investment Corporation (CIC) is State-Owned Institution, having around $200 Billion foreign exchange reserves enters into investment, joint ventures, shareholding etc.

Muhammad Haroon Agar, President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry(KCCI) expressed that Pakistan and China can collectively do wonders as the economic and commercial activities are now focusing towards Asia.

With Pak-China mutual economic and cooperation, regional trade and trading with SAARC, ECO and Central Asian blocks can multiply to manifolds. He urged Chinese investment in energy, infrastructure, metro-railways, mass-transit; dams projects which are direly needed to uplift economy and further strengthen Pak-China friendly relationship and economic cooperation. He said that Chinese cooperation with Pakistan reached high points with substantial investments from China in Pakistani infra structural expansion, including the noted projects in the Pakistan deep water port in Gawadar, however, in view of Pak China Friendship which is deeper than ocean, greater than Himalaya, growth in mutual cooperation is essential to uplift Pakistan's weakening economy. He cited Karakorum Highway as a remarkable example of mutual cooperation which is the symbol of friendship and understanding. 2011 was celebrated as "Pakistan - China Friendship Year, on 60th Anniversary of Pak China Relations". More than 11,000 Chinese engineers, technicians and workers are rendering their valuable services in progress and development of Pakistan .

Chinese investment in Pakistan increased many fold in key sectors including port development, roads, railways, mobile telephones communication technology, hydro and thermal power, mining, electronics, and nuclear energy. A large number of Chinese companies are working in Pakistan in oil and gas, IT and telecom, power generation, engineering, automobiles, infrastructure and mining sector. Both countries have free trade agreements which should be effectively explored for mutual benefits of both friendly nations. Public as well private sector Pak-China joint ventures are need of time owing to immense investment potential in Pakistan .

Chairman Sindh Board of Investment Zubair Motiwala proposed the President of China Investment Corporation to establish Pak-China mutual fund that can fund the potential projects and joint ventures in the public and private sector of Pakistan . He articulated that Pakistan has 2nd largest reserves of Coal. Pakistan can benefit from Chinese technical assistance in coal energy projects. He also emphasized on the urgent need for accelerating the effort for development of indigenous and cheaper energy resources. Reliable, efficient, safe and cost effective solutions for coal based power generation. Chinese Technical expertise in wind power is also essential. Pakistan and China can also create joint venture in textile sector as Chinese companies buy textile products from Pakistan . He also underscored joint collaboration in education sector. Pakistan also needs technical support and help to build infrastructure for instance express ways and bridges. Investment opportunities are also available to promote tourism.

TRADE WITH BELARUS

Victor Rybak Ambassador of Belarus to Pakistan has said that Bilateral Investment Treaty between Belarus and Pakistan has been ratified by Belarus while ratification from Pakistan is awaited.

The Belarus diplomat informed that dynamics of Belarus are different from central Asian Republics and the country has its unique strengths in many areas. He stressed upon the need of frequent people-to-people contact, regular exchange of trade information and business delegations as Pakistan is an important friendly country and Belarus attaches importance to Pak-Belarus political and trade relations.

He endorsed the existing prospects to enhance Pak-Belarus Economic and Commercial cooperation do exist to explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation, renowned

Belarus lies in the heart of Europe and it is most industrialized country which got independence from Soviet Union . He informed that GDP was growing every year and economy strongest sectors were service industries and manufacturing. He informed that Belarus tractor is very popular in Pakistan . Five dealers of Belarus Tractors are operating in Karachi . In last 5 years, 30,000 tractors were sold to Pakistan . Ambassador informed that economic diplomacy was his first priority as Pakistan has lot of potential in many areas. He invited President KCCI to compose a business delegation to Belarus . He informed that Belarus is a promising business and investment destination for investors. Presently Belarus was 56th in ease of doing business whereas by 2015 the country will likely achieve the 30th rank for ease in doing business. Pakistan and Belarus are maintaining agreements on trade and economic cooperation and investment protection.

President KCCI while expressing his point of view urged the Ambassador of Belarus to explore the possibilities of Pak-Belarus joint ventures in automobiles, services and industrial products.

Pakistan and Belarus are two friendly countries and there is great potential to enhance bilateral trade and economic ties. He stated that Belarus economy is dominated by services and industrial products. Belarus tractor is famous in Pakistan . He was of the view that Belarusian tractors, trucks, motorcycles, earthmovers, fertilizers, machinery and mineral products, chemicals, metals, textiles, metal-cutting machine tools, synthetic fibers can be exported to Pakistan due to its demand. Belarus Export to Pakistan in 2011were $2.54 Million while Belarus imports from Pakistan in 2011 were $34.58 Million. President KCCI offered the Belarusian Ambassador that KCCI can cooperate with Embassy of Belarus to organize Single Country Belarusian Exhibition in Pakistan . Likewise, he invited Belarusian's companies through the courtesy of Ambassador to participate in the KCCI's My-Karachi Exhibition to be organized in July 2013. He said that KCCI can sign MoU with its Minsk Chamber of Commerce & Industry to facilitate business community. He apprised about the vital role of KCCI in the socio-economic development of Pakistan and to promote trade and industry in Karachi and elsewhere.

TRADE WITH ROMANIA

Ambassador of Romania to Pakistan Emilian Ion said that initiative to establish Pakistan-Romania Business Council was to bridge together the business communities of two countries and explore new avenues of commercial cooperation and organizing of single country exhibitions in respective countries.

While recognizing the KCCI's vital role as leading Chamber in the promotion of trade and industry and for socio-economic development of Pakistan , the Romanian diplomat said that Pakistan and Romania enjoy good political relations however; the bilateral trade volume needs to be enhanced as per existing trade potential. Romanian Exports to Pakistan in 2011 were $46 Million while the imports from Pakistan were $22 Million and total volume of trade in 2011 stood around $68 Million. Top three Romanian exports to Pakistan were plants and products of plant, electrical devices and parts whereas as top three imports from Pakistan were textile products, livestock, plastic and rubber products. He was of the view that exchange of business delegations was imperative to explore bilateral trade prospects.

KCCI Chief said that Romania is a seventh largest European Union Market and has enormous potential for Pakistani products especially in textiles. There is an excellent opportunity for Pakistani entrepreneurs to collaborate in textile and leather sectors in Romania. Pakistan can supply cotton yarn and fabrics for processing and value addition in Romania .

Pakistan has benefited a great deal from Romania in industrial equipment for cement factories, refinery, power equipment, agricultural equipment, transport means, machine tools. Romania has been importing textile goods, leather, rice, and other food products, confectionaries, pharmaceuticals, sports goods from Pakistan . But the current level of overall bilateral trade is insignificant, he voiced. Similarly, Pakistan may constitute an access gateway for Romania to SAARC region and Central Asian Republics , he stated. Pakistan as a profitable destination for investors offers attractive packages to Romanian investors for increasing capital inflows just as it happened in the past through their comprehensive technical offers in oil-refining, cement factories, power equipment, food, metal and wood processing in machinery, agricultural machinery etc. He appreciated the initiative of Pakistan-Romania Business Council constituted to facilitate the business persons of both countries under the patronage of Romanian Ambassador. He also invited Romanian Exhibitors through Ambassador to participate in KCCI annual "My-Karachi, Oasis of Harmony" Exhibition scheduled to be held in July 2013 which is a showcase and B2B & B2C platform wherein local and foreign exhibitors participate. He assured the Karachi Chamber's best support and cooperation for match-making with their Pakistan counterparts, particularly KCCI members with Romanian businesspersons.