Pakistan and Malaysia to enhance bilateral trade
Malaysian High Commissioner Dr. Hasrul Sani Mujtabar has said that Malaysia and Pakistan are potential markets and there is a lot of scope to enhance two-way trade. He was talking to the LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder and Vice President Nasir Saeed here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Former LCCI office-bearers and Executive Committee Members were also present on the occasion.
The High Commissioner urged Pakistani businessmen to be more aggressive in terms of business activities in Malaysia to compete with other competitive markets in this era of globalization. He advised the Pakistani business community to actively participate in international conventions scheduled to be held in Malaysia in forthcoming months. "Pakistan is a very potential market," the High Commissioner said, adding that doing business in country like Pakistan is always very profitable.
The LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder said that Pakistan and Malaysia are members of OIC and the Commonwealth. Both countries have been maintaining excellent diplomatic relations with each other since 1957. He said that Malaysia has attained remarkable growth in almost all fields of life and has become a role model for many Islamic countries to follow. Almas Hyder said that Malaysia has set a unique benchmark by way of successfully launching its own model of ' modernization with indigenization. He said that technological base of Malaysia is strong which was resulted due to enhancing the quality of technical and vocational education.
"We must avail the opportunities of knowledge sharing and streamlining our education system with the help of Malaysian experts", the LCCI Senior Vice President added. He said that Malaysia and Pakistan signed a Free Trade Agreement in January 2008 but it has yet to prove useful to both of us. We already have the platform which must be utilized for a win-win situation.
Talking about declining trade trend between two countries, Almas Hyder say that we need to take immediate steps to regain that level of bilateral which went as high as dollar 2.97 billion in 2011. In 2014, the level of bilateral trade further dipped to dollar 1.51 billion from dollar 2.12 billion in 2013. The balance of trade has been in favour of Malaysia and over the last five years this gap is constantly closing.
He said that main reason of this fall was drastic decrease in import of palm oil from Malaysia which used to be around dollar 2.12 billion in 2011 and by 2014 it contracted to dollar half a billion.
He said that Pakistan's exports to Malaysia have been ranging in between dollar 200-240 million during 2011 to 2014. There must be some advantage given to Pakistan of the said FTA. He said that Pakistan produces good quality and affordable agricultural products. For example Pakistani rice, oranges and mangoes are in great demand in Malaysian markets.
He urged the Malaysian High Commission to play active role in order to encourage Malaysian investors to consider Pakistan as a safe destination for investment. He said that Joint ventures in the fields of livestock & dairy, food processing, energy, chemicals, Halal products and especially in solar panels can further strengthen the trade ties between two countries.
The LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed said that in past, it was a great facility to frequent travelers from Pakistan to get Malaysian visa on arrival. We will appreciate if Pakistani businessmen with recommendatory letter from leading chambers of commerce could be facilitated by Malaysian authorities. Similarly, students exchange programs can also open up new avenues of cooperation between two countries. I hope that Malaysian High Commission will extend assistance in this regard.
Nasir Saeed urged the Malaysian firms to participate in 3rd Expo Lahore which is going to be held from 8 to 10April 2016 in Expo Center Lahore. He said that there are few Indonesian companies which have already booked their stalls in this expo.