Trade prospects with Malaysia

Enterprise - - Contents -

An un­der­stand­ing to work pro­gres­sively to­wards bal­anc­ing the trade gap and in­creas­ing im­port of bet­ter qual­ity Pak­istani prod­ucts, es­pe­cially rice and food prod­ucts by Malaysia, was reached dur­ing a se­ries of meet­ings held be­tween Malaysian of­fi­cials and the Pak­istani del­e­ga­tion to Malaysia, headed by Tariq Iqbal Puri, Chair­man, Trade De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity of Pak­istan. The del­e­ga­tion ex­plored ways to in­crease bi­lat­eral trade, forge busi­ness match-mak­ing and de­velop mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial part­ner­ships.

Pak­istan and Malaysia have agreed to in­crease bi­lat­eral trade and work to­gether to nar­row down the trade gap that is cur­rently heav­ily tilted in favour of Malaysia. At present, Pak­istan im­ports US $2 bil­lion worth of palm oil from Malaysia to meet 95 per­cent of its do­mes­tic re­quire­ments.

The Pak­istani del­e­ga­tion ac­com­pa­nied by Ma­sood Khalid, Pak­istan High Com­mis­sioner in Malaysia, held sep­a­rate meet­ings with heads of var­i­ous gov­ern­ment and busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tions as well as se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and min­is­ters, in­clud­ing Datuk Seri Noh Bin Omar, Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture and Agro-based In­dus­try Malaysia, and Tan Sri Bernard Dom­pok, Min­is­ter for Plan­ta­tion, In­dus­tries and Com­modi­ties. Var­i­ous is­sues and pro­pos­als aimed at strength­en­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions and in­creas­ing bi­lat­eral trade, es­pe­cially in agri­cul­ture, con­struc­tion, live­stock and dairy, en­ergy, ed­u­ca­tion, IT and Ha­lal in­dus­try, were dis­cussed.

Tariq Iqbal Puri in­formed the Malaysian of­fi­cials that Pak­istan was the world’s third largest im­porter of palm oil and was im­port­ing nearly 2.2 mil­lion MT ev­ery year, of which 95 per­cent came from Malaysia. “Palm oil alone makes up nearly 79 per­cent of our US $2.55 bil­lion im­ports from Malaysia which has swung the bal­ance of trade mas­sively in favour of Malaysia,” he said, adding that the gap should be nar­rowed down by im­port­ing from Pak­istani prod­ucts as rice and man­goes which were al­ready pop­u­lar all over the world for their bet­ter qual­ity and com­pet­i­tive price. It was hoped that Pak­istan could cap­ture greater share in the Malaysian mar­ket if the coun­try-spe­cific quo­tas in re­spect of Pak­istani prod­ucts, es­pe­cially rice, were en­hanced.

Puri said that Pak­istan pro­duced the best qual­ity rice; it was not only the 12th largest pro­ducer of rice but also the 4th largest ex­porter, yield­ing US $2.5 bil­lion worth ex­ports for the coun­try last year. “Pak­istan has fully lib­er­al­ized the im­port and ex­port of rice which should al­low Malaysian im­porters greater ease to im­port more Pak­istani rice to Malaysia to meet its do­mes­tic re­quire­ment of 1 mil­lion MT of rice,” he said.

The TDAP Chair­man also urged the Malaysian gov­ern­ment to con­sider im­port­ing pro­cessed Pak­istani meat, es­pe­cially beef and chicken, to meet its do­mes­tic re­quire­ments and those of its Armed Forces. He also ad­vo­cated greater pen­e­tra­tion of Pak­istani man­goes in the Malaysian mar­ket, given the fact that the fruit was ac­corded pref­er­en­tial mar­ket ac­cess un­der the FTA be­tween Pak­istan and Malaysia and was also avail­able in Pak­istan in pro­cessed form, af­ter in­stal­la­tion of two mango-pulp plants for pro­duc­tion of bet­ter-qual­ity end-prod­ucts.

The Malaysian of­fi­cials agreed to pro­mote bi­lat­eral trade and as­sured ex­plo­ration of means for in­creas­ing im­port of Pak­istani rice and other prod­ucts. They said Malaysia had al­ready signed an agree­ment with Viet­nam to im­port 800,000 MT of rice an­nu­ally but for the re­main­ing 200,000 MT re­quired to meet do­mes­tic de­mand, the coun­try was pre­pared to look at the pos­si­bil­ity of im­port­ing the com­mod­ity from Pak­istan.

Tariq Iqbal Puri thanked the Malaysian gov­ern­ment for its sup­port to Pak­istan and in­vited both the Agri­cul­ture and Plan­ta­tion min­is­ters to lead a del­e­ga­tion of busi­ness­men and en­trepreneurs to Pak­istan to at­tend Expo Pak­istan 2012 later this year.

Ear­lier, Puri held sep­a­rate meet­ings with the Chair­man of Malaysian Man­u­fac­tur­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (MFA) and Chair­man of Ha­lal De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (HDC). The Chair­man of Malaysian Palm Oil Coun­cil also met the TDAP Chair­man and hosted a din­ner for the Pak­istani del­e­ga­tion.

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