Dr. Mirza Ikhtiar Baig at AIM, 2012
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.