Multilateral Investment and Trade Conference 2011
Pakistan has adopted liberal and investorfriendly policies which include proactive facilitation, guarantees of equal treatment to both local and foreign investors, an easy tariff structure and a liberal regime for repatriation of profits. As such, Pakistan’s economy is showing a fair degree of resilience.
In this respect, the Multilateral Investment and Trade Conference 2011, was made an integral part of Expo Pakistan for the first time this year. The Conference took place on October 20, at Marriot Hotel, Karachi. Held under the aegis of TDAP, the Board of Investment and the Pakistan-japan Business Forum, the conference included B2B meetings and brainstorming session for investors and entrepreneurs. It was broken up into five working groups, namely: Agriculture and Dairy Farming, Infrastructure including Energy, Pharmaceuticals, Engineering, and Mines and Minerals.
There were no speeches at the conference which allowed a potential participant to choose the working group of his particular interest, and actively participate in the proceedings of the group.
Investors and business leaders from more than 15 countries participated in the strategic breakout groups.
The conference was arranged with the combined efforts of business forums from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Russia, Sri Lanka and Switzerland, which showed great confidence in the productivity and potential of the Pakistani people and resources.
Saleem H. Mandviwala, Chairman, Board of Investments, said, “It is heartening to see the enthusiastic response to this call for consolidation of potential investors and business leaders from the international market. The recent economic slowdown and recessive trends in the global industrial sectors have necessitated a collaborative approach towards quick economic revival”.
Abdul Kader Jaffer, Chairman of the conference and also the President of the Pakistan- Japan Business Forum, expressed his confidence in the productivity and potential of the country. He said; “Pakistan’s economy offers vast opportunities for foreign enterprises and investors to manufacture, import, relocate and re-export a wide range of high- quality products, commodities, services and resources.
The newly appointed Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Yaseen Anwar highlighted the huge investment potential in small and medium size enterprises (SMES) and the housing and agriculture sector. Terming the three sectors as engines of growth, Anwar pointed to the top microfinance regulatory framework ranking of Pakistan by The Economist. In this regard, he also mentioned the measures taken by the State Bank to promote branchless banking in Pakistan to help those who are not able to afford conventional banking.
The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) signed an MOU with the Chinese and Egyptian trade delegations attending the conference.
Halal raw materials for export also featured. KCCI President Mian Abrar Ahmad’s meeting with foreign delegations highlighted the potential of halal foods. The sector encouraged Malaysia to conduct a seminar on halal foods in March next year. Both Muslim and non-muslim countries have shown interest in importing halal foods from Pakistan. Among the working groups, infrastructure and energy was on top of the agenda.
Many upcoming projects were also highlighted at the conference, including the Track Access and Bhambore Dairy Projects. The significance of mines and minerals was also discussed.
A comparison of investment in the sector opportunities showed that while a Rs. 10 million investment in Karachi could create employment opportunities for 50 people but an equal amount of investment in mines and minerals can create employment for 350 people.
The ‘ Multilateral Investment and Trade Conference 2011, was aimed at creating a pool of qualified human resources, a skilled labour force and a favourable business environment which will encourage investors to do business in Pakistan. The country’s economy offers vast opportunities for foreign enterprises and investors, to manufacture, import, relocate and re-export a wide range of high quality products, commodities, services and resources
From left: Abdul Kader Jaffer, Saleem H. Mandviwala and Yaseen Anwar.