KARACHI: The Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) and Pakistan Japan Business Forum (PJBF) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which both institutions have agreed to jointly identify the common challenges affecting their members and collectively develop responses to these challenges so that trade between Pakistan and Japan could be enhanced.
Under the said MoU, which was signed by President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda and Chairman PJBF Sohail P. Ahmed at meeting held at Karachi Chamber, KCCI and PJBF would identify opportunities to maximize the efficiency of information exchange for industry friendly policies for healthy market and for Industrial development in Pakistan. KCCI and PJBF would also nominate a contact person from their institutions to form a working group on specific matters of common interest, research and industrial development, besides sharing details of those members who were currently engaged in trade with Japan.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman PJBF Sohail P Ahmed, while highlighting some of the major achievements, said that PJBF was the only bilateral forum which participates in the government-to-government dialogues as well and it was the only bilateral forum which has its offices in Karachi and Lahore. “Our vision remains to improve the business relations between the two countries. We are the only bilateral business forum to hold a multilateral investment conference in 2011 which was attended by over 200 individuals from 35 countries. We in collaboration with our friends from Japan also prepared a comprehensive report during Musharraf’s government on how to achieve the Vision 2030 but unfortunately that valuable report is accumulating dust in Islamabad”, he added.
He said that PJBF has been regularly sending delegations of SMEs to Japan every year and arranging B2B meetings that have resulted in achieving more than what was being expected.
Sohail Ahmed was of the opinion that Karachi Chamber can play an important role in galvanizing the efforts to improve the state of the industry and the economy. “With its large seashore line, vast agricultural production, energy potential and also the biggest industrial base in Karachi, Sindh can alone show the way to the entire Pakistan”, he added.
Speaking on the occasion, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda stated that the MoU being signed today would help in building strong linkages between the two institutions and pave way for improved trade and investment ties between Pakistan and Japan.
He pointed out that during 2018, goods exported by Pakistan to Japan experienced 17.9 percent decline to $354.26 million from $431.96Mn in 2017. Similarly, goods imported by Pakistan from Japan worth $2.1 billion, recording a 9.6 percent decline from $2.3 billion in 2017. “These declining figures are really worrisome for the business communities of the two countries hence, requires collective efforts from both sides”, he added.
He noted that Japan was among the world’s largest and most technologically advanced producers of motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel and nonferrous metals, ships, chemicals, textiles and processed foods. Therefore, it was really essential to devise effective strategies for transfer of technology from Pakistan to Japan in order to create a win-win situation for both the countries.
Pakistan and Japan have been enjoying healthy bilateral economic relations since 1952. It is reflected through the fact that at present, over 84 Japanese companies are successfully operating in Pakistan, he added.
He was of the opinion that there was a huge potential to enhance bilateral trade relations between Japan and Pakistan. Japan fulfills its large share of grain, textile and surgical goods demand through imports. Hence, Pakistan can tap these segments by exporting its products to Japan which would further boost the bilateral trade volume between the two countries. Pakistan and Japan must also look for joint ventures in the automobile sector by providing training assistance, he stressed.
He said that KCCI wants to promote business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and Japan. “We also want to promote Japanese investment in Pakistan and do everything for the development of Pakistan–Japanese business cooperation”, he added.