Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig at AIM, 2012

Enterprise - - 11 -

As Chair­man, Pak-UAE Busi­ness Coun­cil, Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, made a sig­nif­i­cant rep­re­sen­ta­tion on be­half of Pak­istan at AIM 2012. His main pre­sen­ta­tions were based on the is­sues of food se­cu­rity in GCC coun­tries and growth of the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor in Pak­istan. Dr. Baig listed im­por­tant facts in his pre­sen­ta­tion to cap­ture the global in­vest­ment sce­nario. Some ex­cerpts from his pre­sen­ta­tion: “Cur­rently, the emerg­ing mar­kets con­trib­ute 31 per­cent of global GDP growth which is ex­pected to rise to 41 per­cent by 2015. About 84 per­cent of the global pop­u­la­tion lives in the emerg­ing economies and is grow­ing at a rapid rate.”

“In In­dia, more than 30 mil­lion of the peo­ple be­long to the mid­dle class. In­dia is ex­pected to re­ceive 40 mil­lion more peo­ple in this group in the next 10 years. The mid­dle class in China, Turkey, Philip­pines, Brazil, In­done­sia and Mex­ico is also grow­ing at the same rate.”

“It is es­ti­mated that by 2050, the world pop­u­la­tion will reach 9 bil­lion, due to which the agri­cul­ture sec­tor will have to face chal­lenges in pro­vid­ing food se­cu­rity. It re­mains a pri­or­ity agenda in GCC meet­ings.”

“Asia is ris­ing to be­come a sig­nif­i­cant mar­ket for GCC coun­tries in the com­ing times, with grow­ing oil con­sump­tion at 4.4 per­cent. The trade be­tween Asia and the GCC coun­tries was 10 per­cent in 1980; in 2009 it rose to 36 per­cent and since then there is a 12 per­cent in­crease ev­ery year. It is es­ti­mated that by 2017, Asia will be­come the big­gest trader with GCC coun­tries, out of which In­dia, China and In­done­sia will share half of it. Along with ex­ports, In­dia and China are also fo­cus­ing on lo­cal mar­kets be­cause of the grow­ing buy­ing power of the mid­dle class.“

“The Gulf re­gion is de­pen­dent on South Asia and African coun­tries for im­port of agri­cul­ture prod­ucts due to scarcity of water and fer­tile land. Pak­istan is an agri­cul­tur­ally self-suf­fi­cient coun­try, not only feed­ing its own pop­u­la­tion but also earns sig­nif­i­cant amount of for­eign ex­change through ex­ports.”

Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, while in­tro­duc­ing Pak­istan’s ex­por­to­ri­ented pol­icy at AIM 2012, in­vited the GCC coun­tries to pro­duce the agri­cul­tural prod­ucts of their need on Pak­istan’s fer­tile land on ba­sis of long-term lease or joint ven­tures. Af­ter this, the pro­duce can be ex­ported to the Gulf coun­tries, ob­tained un­der cheap labour, cheap hu­mus and world class ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem in Pak­istan. Un­der this scheme, a num­ber of Gulf com­pa­nies are pro­duc­ing high pro­tein an­i­mal fod­der in Sindh and then ex­port­ing it to the Gulf, which makes it com­par­a­tively cheaper.

Dr. Baig in­formed con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants that if the EU and the US stop $1 bil­lion of an­nual sub­sidy to their farm­ers, then both Europe and US will see a greater price hike, due to which the non-sub­si­dized cul­ti­vated prod­ucts from Asia and Africa could be sup­plied to the US and the rest of the world at much cheaper prices. It may be re­mem­bered that a di­rect sub­sidy of this kind is not al­lowed by the WTO.

Dr. Ikhtiar Baig also had an ex­change with the Turk­ish trade min­is­ter over the ad­di­tional cus­toms duty on tex­tile ex­ports from Pak­istan. He put for­ward a re­quest for abol­ish­ing this ad­di­tional duty which is af­fect­ing Pak­istan’s tex­tile in­dus­try neg­a­tively.

Dr. Baig was also a part of a panel dis­cus­sion, ac­com­pa­nied by S.M. Muneer, on the growth of the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor. He high­lighted the world rank­ing of var­i­ous Pak­istani prod­ucts, im­por­tant strate­gic lo­ca­tions of Pak­istan, the avail­abil­ity of raw ma­te­rial and cheap labour in the coun­try and the mod­ern bank­ing sys­tem of Pak­istan. More­over, they also dis­cussed the en­deav­ours of lib­eral trade be­tween In­dia and Pak­istan as part of pro­mot­ing re­gional trade.

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