KARACHI: High Commissioner of Australia Ms. Margaret Adamson has said Australia was keen to engage the private sectors of Pakistan and Australia as it was the private sector that drives the economy and creates jobs.
“We want to work closely with the private sector of Pakistan and we want to make sure we are in touch with the private sector”, she added while exchanging views during her visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI).
During the said visit to KCCI, Margaret Adamson was accompanied by Honorary Consul General Farrukh Ikram, Senior Trade & Investment Counselor Ms. Nickola Watkinson, Trade Commissioner Grayson Perry, Tahir Mehmood from Austrade Karachi and Azher Shah from Austrade Islamabad.
President KCCI Younus Mohammad Bashir, Senior Vice President KCCI Zia Ahmed Khan, Vice President KCCI Mohammad Naeem Sharif, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.
Commenting on trade and investment ties between Pakistan and Australia, Margaret Adamson said, “Although some magnificent things are happening between the two countries which reflect the strength of our bilateral relationship and our common heritage but we still have got a bit of work to do.”
“There is a great potential to build trade and investment relationship between Pakistan and Australia. Although textile and mangoes etc. are being exported to Australia but we need to do much better”, she added.
Underscoring the need to have a vibrant private sector, she said it was a must for revenue generation as the government cannot provide services in the absence of revenue.
She was of the opinion that although Australia was not right next door to Pakistan but nevertheless, both countries have many years old good and broader foundations. “We have wonderful Pakistani diaspora in Australia which is now spread magnificently through all sectors of Australian society. We have also been experiencing very pleasing number of growth in students from Pakistan and the Pakistani community in Australia is very viable, diverse and contributing”, she added.
She further informed that an Australian Education institution will actually be arriving in Pakistan to help build the capacity of Pakistani lecturers, teachers, and trainers. “We also have great expertise to offer in the areas of resources, energy, water management, infrastructure development and agricultural sector. “All these areas are very important in terms of sharing and offering the expertise”, Margaret opined.
Earlier, President KCCI Younus Mohammad Bashir, while welcoming the Ambassador appreciated the support being extended by the Australian government to Pakistan in general and the Karachi Chamber of Commerce in particular through the High Commission of Australia in Pakistan.
Seeking Australian investment in Karachi, he pointed out that the city, being the financial and economic hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to Australian investors. “Karachi is an attractive place for foreign investors, who can surely earn maximum profits by setting up their businesses or undertaking joint ventures here”, he added.
He said that Pakistan and Australia maintain strong bilateral trade relations where large trade volume is the reflection of this fact. During Fiscal Year 2014-15, Pakistan exported goods worth $177 million to Australia while the goods imported by Pakistan were recorded at $308 million, depicting a trade volume of around $485 million in favor of Australia.
Younus Bashir was of the opinion that there was a huge potential for enhancing trade between the two countries by focusing on diversifying Pakistan’s exports to Australia. Pakistani mangoes have potential to penetrate into Australian markets at large. Tapping Australian market for exporting mangoes would provide impetus for enhancing further bilateral trade, he advised, adding that Pakistan can also seek Australian assistance in expanding its dairy and agriculture sector by adopting modern techniques being used in Australia.
He further emphasized the need to promote promoting trade, commerce and economic cooperation between the two countries, advocate steps to foster and organize trade and investment delegations, trade fairs, exhibitions, seminars and meetings etc. Efforts should be made to create strong linkages between KCCI and its counterpart Chambers in Australia in order to pave way for improved trade relations between the two countries.
He also invited the Australian companies to participate in 13th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony exhibition scheduled to be organized in the month of March next year. This three-day long event was regularly being organized since 2004 which is attended by around 1 million visitors every year. My Karachi will provide an excellent opportunity to Australian businessmen and industrialists to showcase their products and create strong linkages with the business community of Karachi by holding B2B meetings in a cordial atmosphere.