LAHORE: Vice Chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry Mazen Bin Mohammed Batterjee has said that Saudi Arab and Pakistan could expand trade ties through making joint efforts and by signing Memoranda of Understanding (MOU).
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Thursday. LCCI President Ijaz A. Mumtaz, Senior Vice President Mian Nauman Kabir, Vice President Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi and Board Member of Jeddah CCI Khalaf Bin Housaan Al Otaibi also spoke on the occasion.
Mr. Mazen Bin Mohammed Batterjee said that the expansion of trade would ensure that only the appropriately qualified and skilled people go to Saudi Arabia so that further demand for more Pakistanis is created.
He said that there exists enormous scope to expand the economic relations between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. At the same time, Saudi businessmen could be motivated to come and invest in Pakistan to set up dairy industries. There are other areas of mutual interest where investment can be made on a reciprocal basis.
He said that the objective is to spread information and awareness about the opportunities that exist in both countries for profitable investment.
He said that in this context, it would be advisable to involve the chambers of commerce of the two countries. People from the two chambers could sit together to thrash out ways and means to accelerate the process of expansion of trade between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
He said that businessmen from both countries should be encouraged to participate in exhibitions held in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Both governments, and personnel associated with the holding of these exhibitions, should simplify the procedures so that more and more people could come from the other country to participate in these exhibitions.
Vice Chairman of Jeddah CCI said that big time investors from Saudi Arabia should be invited to visit Pakistan to familiarize themselves with the conducive investment environment existing in this country. If the Saudi businessmen start visiting Pakistan frequently, it will raise the level of confidence of the investors and entrepreneurs from Saudi Arabia who would then think positively about investing in Pakistan. This could be a major breakthrough.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that Saudi Arabia is one of the largest trade partners of Pakistan and both Muslim brother countries have decades long cordial relations.
He said that there exist in Pakistan lucrative opportunities for Saudi investors in the fields of oil & gas, petroleum & petrochemicals, power (coal, hydel, gas based), textile manufactures, banking & financial services, fertilizers industries, gems & jewellery, light engineering, furniture, food & fruit processing, packaging, livestock, dairy farming, fisheries, infrastructure, IT and Telecom.
LCCI President said that Pakistan is strategically located in the region. He said that this factor augments its advantageous position for foreign investors as major economies in neighbours are well within reach. He said that Pakistan is currently pursuing investors’ friendly policy promising all possible advantages, one can think of.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that our Saudi counterparts can come and invest in Pakistan as foreign investors are allowed to invest in industrial project on 100% equity basis. Similarly, we are also ready to invest in Jeddah if there are good business opportunities available for us.
He stressed upon the need of developing private to private contacts in order to bring two countries close. It can easily be done by way of creating network among our two chambers.
“Signing of an MOU between LCCI and JCCI can kick start the process and we should promptly exchange the draft to agree upon its clauses”, Ijaz A. Mumtaz added.
LCCI President said that in order to accelerate better communication between two organizations and to have direct access to authentic information, special desks may be established.
He also suggested the establishment of Saudi Arabia Desk in Lahore Chamber and similarly Pakistan Desk in the premises of Jeddah Chamber.
He said that exchange of trade delegations is one of the most effective ways of enhancing trade therefore both Chambers of Commerce & Industry should take steps in this regard.
Ijaz A. Mumtaz said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia need to find new avenues for the expansion of bilateral trade. We think there are many areas in which we can enhance our trade.
Pakistan mainly imports oil from Saudia which is almost 76% of total imports. Saudia comes at 4th place among the top importing countries for Pakistan and its total value was US$ 3.84 billion in 2013.
He said that in contrast to it, the total worth of Pakistan’s exports to Saudia was US$ 494 million in the same year. Pakistan is fully capable of meeting the import requirements of Saudia provided we are given enough room to penetrate.
He said that there is a need to take advantage of both of our positions while exploiting every possible option to benefit the business communities of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
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