LAHORE: Further strengthening of trade and economic relations with United Kingdom should be the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy as this lucrative destination can help us boost national exports to the required level.
This was upshot of the speeches delivered at a seminar on “Pak UK Business Ideas”, organized by the LCCI Standing Committee on Pak-UK Business Relations, at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid, former President Mian Anjum Nisar, Convener Standing Committee on “Pak UK Business Promoion” Nabila Intesar, Co-Convener Uzma Nawaz, Trade & Investment Manager, Waqar Ullah, Department for International Trade, UK, Sajid Saleem Minhas, Asad-ur-Rehman and Agha Saidain spoke on the occasion.
The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that Pakistan and UK enjoy strong bilateral relations and share history and deep cultural linkages. Pakistani businessmen should grow their relations with their British counterparts to avail the available opportunities. He said that exchange of delegations and participation in each other’s exhibitions are useful tools to know more about each other. Such interactions with the counterparts and other stakeholders allow embarking upon new areas of cooperation. He said that UK is known for having strong socio-political atmosphere where the people and the government work hand in hand for the betterment of the country. He said that United Kingdom is one of the top five exporting markets in the world for Pakistan. United Kingdom is ranked at 3rd and 16th places among the top exporting and importing countries respectively for Pakistan. He informed the participants that LCCI is making all-out efforts for the cause of business community. Second phase of FTA with China has been stopped with the efforts of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Khawaja Khawar Rashid said that UK should provide some trade facilitation to Pakistan. He emphasized the need for collective efforts to increase the existing trade volume between the two countries.
Nabila Intisar said that the main objective of the seminar was to create awareness among the members about the trade and investment potential in the two countries and how to enhance our trade with United Kingdom. She said that we have to identify problems and find out solutions to the issues coming in the way of trade promotion.
Mian Anjum Nisar said that Pakistan’s exports to UK are over US$ 1.5 Billion makes UK third largest destination for the exports after USA and China. He said that more than 100 UK companies are currently working in Pakistan. United Kingdom has been seeking to bolster global trade ties following Brexit (its referendum vote to leave the European Union), with the government seeking to broaden relations with fast-growing economies outside Europe. He appreciated that even after Brexit, UK continues to give Pakistan the preferential access to its markets through the GSP plus scheme. This scheme on one hand encourages economic growth and sustainable development in Pakistan and on the other hand helps businesses and consumers in UK. He said that Despite the GSP Plus status, Pakistan has not been able to enhance its exports to UK as they are stagnant around U.S$ 1.5 Billion. To help Pakistan in enhancing these exports, UK should help the business community of Pakistan in providing the trainings for the required certifications.
Waqar Ullah, Trade and Investment Manager, UK said that to enhance trade between the two countries there should be exchange of information so that both sides get updated knowledge about each other. Exchange of delegations should be linked up with events. He continued that he is the focal person for UK and is trying his best to facilitate in matchmaking on both sides. He informed that in UK there is one window operation for the person who wants to invest, therefore, he also suggested to introduce the same facility for investors in Pakistan.
Sajid Saleem Minhas gave a brief presentation on textile sector. He informed that textile industry is an important sector and generates 62% export revenue of the total. Pakistan is enjoying GSP Plus status and has introduced its products in more than twenty six European countries. UK is a very big market but we are dealing in limited products. He emphasized on skill development.