Moot discusses trade, investment issues

KARACHI: Pakistan-Japan Business Forum PJBF hosted a meeting by inviting the heads of other Bilateral Forums to discuss and initiate measures to address the issues related to trade and investments by their respective countries.

Sohail P. Ahmed, Chairman of PJBF, stated that Pakistan provides a huge consumptive power which can be better utilized if all forums collectively approach the new government and appraise them of the impediments standing in the way of increased trade and investments into Pakistan. Heads of various forums while appreciating the move, explained about the workings of their respective forums, their memberships having representation of both local and multilateral companies, activities organized by them for meaningful interaction between the business community of Pakistan and their respective countries, participation in trade fairs and exhibitions and organizing meetings with government officials directly responsible to facilitate their objectives of trade and investments such as Trade Development Authority of Pakistan TDAP, Board of Investment BOI and the Federal Board of Revenue FBR, and inviting business delegations as well as government officials from their respective countries so as to make them aware of the potential Pakistan holds. This includes very attractive investment policy, populace with mechanical skills, English as a common business language, fast learning capability of human resource as well as natural resources available to add value.

The meeting identified some key issues amongst which were the anomalies and inconsistency in government policies, delays in decisions involving several ministries and above all the law and order situation sending wrong signals to their respective governments who are then constrained to caution their citizens about visits to Pakistan through their travel advisory. Also brought into focus were matters related to the availability of trained human resources which needs to be aggressively addressed by the government by creating technical and vocational facilities as also the energy shortage which is badly hurting the existing industry and preventing potential investors to enter. While the government is moving on a fast track to address the energy problem of the country, the members were of the opinion that Pakistan also lacks other infrastructure facilities necessary such as roads and highways, railways and modernization of ports and shipping.

The Forums decided to further study the issues in greater depth so as to be able to come up with a viable and doable proposal and collectively approach the new government to seek their cooperation to achieve the basic aims and objectives which are common to all Bilateral Forums. Those in attendance included Qazi Sajid of German Forum, Mujtaba Rahim of Swiss Council, Irfan Vazeer of Italian Development Committee, Pervez Madraswalla of Australian Forum, Sameer Dodhy of Belgium Forum and Salahuddin Haider of China Business Council and Sohail P. Ahmed of Japan Forum while representatives of Korea, Malaysia, Russia, France, Sri Lanka and others who were unable to attend did send in their recommendations in response to the call by Japan Forum to address the issues collectively.

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