KARACHI: Dr. Brigitta Blaha, Ambassador of Austria has said that Austria was keen to develop economic, trade and commercial relationship with Pakistan as there was a potential to enhance the existing trade volume between the two countries.
The Austrian Ambassador was speaking at a meeting during her visit to the Karachi Chamber. Honorary Consul of Austria in Karachi, Babar Tajammul, Commercial Counselor Austrian Trade Commission, Richard Bandera, President KCCI, Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI, Mohammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Vice President KCCI, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Chairman of Diplomatic Missions and Embassies’ Liaison Sub-Committee KCCI, Mohammad Naeem Sharif and KCCI Managing Committee members were present at the meeting.
Austrian Ambassador, while commenting on reopening of Austrian Consulate in Karachi, stated that that the Honorary Consulate General of Republic of Austria was recently reopened in Karachi with a cultural event as they believe that such events help in improving people-to-people contacts between countries. Austrian Embassy will be holding more such cultural events in order to improve the image of Pakistan, she added.
Commercial Counselor of Austrian Trade Commission, Richard Bandera stated that efforts were being made by Austrian Trade Commission to promote the positive image of Pakistan. “It is one of our first duty to bring people here as foreigners are afraid of visiting Pakistan due to various incidents being reported in the media”, he added.
Earlier, while welcoming the Austrian Ambassador, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra stressed the need to look for ways and means of how to enhance trade ties between the two countries as the existing low trade volume does not depict the real potential between the two countries. “During Fiscal Year 2014, Pakistan’s exports to Austria amounted to $42.94 million while imports from Austria aggregated to $92.93 million”, he informed.
In order to enhance trade, President KCCI advocated the need to organize visit of trade delegation from Austria to Pakistan which was an emerging market, holds abundant natural resources along with cheaper labor force and can surely offer lucrative business opportunities to Austrian business community.
Many multinational companies were successfully operating in Karachi city and the Austrian companies can also benefit by setting up their business units in this city which plays an important role in Pakistan’s by contributing more than 65 percent revenue to the national kitty, he added.
He was of the view that overall doing business situation has improved significantly and was likely to improve further in the days ahead. The Austrian businessmen and industrialist will surely have a win-win situation as the investment policy of the government guarantees 100 percent repatriation of investment to foreign investors.
Senior Vice President KCCI, Mohammad Ibrahim Kasumbi said that there was a huge potential in various sectors of the economy to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries and with changing geo-political environment, particularly after the exist of NATO forces from Afghanistan, Pakistan would become the gateway to Central Asian Republics (CARs). Pakistan offers immense opportunities to Austrian investors who can surely benefit from Pakistan’s abundant resources, massive raw material, cheaper labor force and land for setting up business units, adequate water resources and surplus cultivation of various commodities including fruits and vegetables. He also advised the Austrian business community to consider undertaking joint ventures which would create a win-win situation for everyone.
Vice President KCCI, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan advised newly appointed honorary Consul of Austria in Karachi to focus on devising strategy to bring business communities of the two countries closer and seek ways and means of how to improve trade ties between the two countries. Pakistan can export textiles, food stuff and wood to Austria whereas it can import machinery, communication and telecommunication equipment from Austria, he suggested, adding that if Austrian investors were reluctant to undertake joint ventures, they may consider extending technical assistance to Pakistan which would help in producing high quality products in Pakistan and the same can be exported to Austria and other destinations.
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