Concrete steps be taken to boost trade ties with Kazakhstan: Speakers
ISLAMABAD: Considering the current bilateral as low, the speakers here on Thursday at a seminar stressed governments of both countries to take concrete steps to take the trade volume to a level of real potential.
“Pakistan and Kazakhstan should complement regional connectivity specially after the launch of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) besides materializing two or three transactions immediately so that investors and people of the two countries should start believing that the governments of the two countries are serious in their efforts to boost trade,” Minister of State and Chairman Board of Investment (BoI) Haroon Sharif said while speaking as chief guest at seminar on trade and investment cooperation between Kazakhstan and Pakistan, organized by embassy of Kazakhstan.
The minister said so far commitment of boosting trade volume between the two countries remained limited only to talks and no concrete step had been taken by the past governments to increase the trade volume from current level on only $28 million per year.
He after opening up of CPEC that is from Gwadar to Chinese city of Kashghar, the investors specifically from Central Asian states would get more confidence to invest in Pakistan.
He said now security situation in Pakistan was far better and the international investors were taking more interest in Pakistan.
Haroon Sharif said past few days were very good for Pakistan’s foreign investment point of view as Suzuki Motors had pledged to invest $450 million to expand its existing set up in Pakistan, besides setting up of office by the US oil and gas company Exxon Mobil, whereas Cocacola company had also showed its interest to expand its business in Pakistan.
He also stressed initiating steps to boost knowledge sharing, people to people contacts, business linkages with Kazakhstan.
He said Pakistan was prioritizing setting up of manufacturing plants of various products including mobile phones, vehicles, and agriculture products at local level instead of importing goods from abroad.
“We are establishing nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC, and among them Rashakai SEZ is at final stage,” he said adding that Pakistan has very low investment to GDP ratio which needs to be increased by at least 2 percent immediately.
He said the present government was committed to increase FDI by at least 15 to 20 percent.
He informed that Pakistan government was facilitating the local investors by softening the visa process.
“The government has decided to open a separate portion for local investors to get a visa so that they could get visa on fast track basis and with this they would also skip long procedures of immigration”.
Ambassador of Kazakhstan in Islamabad, Barlybay Sadykov said that Pakistan could increase its exports to Kazakhstan in various sectors including precious stones, jewellary, textile, chemical, and pharmaceutical products, agriculture and food goods, vegetable, shoes, leather items, sport and medical equipments, and construction material.
Similarly, he said Kazakhstan could also export to Pakistan in various sectors including construction and coating materials, raw materials, food products, machinery and equipment, fertilizer, coal, iron, nonferrous metal. and seed oil.
The ambassador also expressed his government’s interest to participate in the grand project of CPEC.