Am­bas­sador of Pak­istan in Ser­bia

The Diplomatic Insight - - Interview -

Ser­bia has sig­nif­i­cant trade re­la­tions with In­dia, China, Ja­pan, In­done­sia, Iran and Syria. ThoseMid­dle East and Asian coun­tries are the ones with which Ser­bia has the most ex­ten­sive im­port-ex­port re­la­tions. Un­for­tu­nately, Pak­istan is not among Ser­bia's most sig­nif­i­cant trade part­ners. De­spite the gen­eral Western world stand­point that Pak­istan is highly af­fected by cor­rup­tion and ex­hausted by se­cu­rity is­sues, that coun­try has a fast eco­nomic growth since 2002, be­ing one of the world'smost fast grow­ing economies in terms of re­sources and la­bor ser­vices. The coun­try is re­source­ful, which makes Pak­istan a sig­nif­i­cant po­ten­tial part­ner to other coun­tries, which are also in de­vel­op­ing state, such as the ex-Yu­goslav repub­lic of Ser­bia. Tanja Mis­ce­vic, Spe­cial As­sign­ment Edi­tor from Ser­bia has taken the in­ter­view for TheDi­plo­matic Insight. Fol­low­ing are the ex­cerpts from the in­ter­view. Your H. E. Mr. Muham­mad Nawaz Chaudhry, how would you de­scr ibe eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and Ser­bia? Eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and Ser­bia are ex­pand­ing though not as sub­stan­tially as the two sides would have wanted. Ac­tu­ally the re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries suf­fered set­backs in the 1990s which af­fected the trade re­la­tions as well. Cur­rently it is heart­en­ing that both way the trade is ex­pand­ing though it will take time to reach the po­ten­tial. In fact the ge­o­graph­i­cal dis­tance be­tween the two coun­tries, lack of peo­ple to peo­ple con­tact and visa prob­lems are some of the in­hibit­ing fac­tors. It would be right to say that the busi­ness­men of the two coun­tries are grad­u­ally learn­ing about the mar­ket po­ten­tials of each side afresh af­ter a gap of many years. It is be­lieved that as the com­mer­cial ex­changes be­tween the two coun­tries in­creased and be­come reg­u­lar, it would cer­tainly add to the growth of bi­lat­eral trade and in­vest­ment. What in­vest­ment in­ter­ests could Pak­istan pos­si­bly have the most, re­gard­ing the mar­ket niche, in­dus­try or re­search sec­tor s, con­sider ing that Ser­bia's econ­omy is heav­ily suf­fer ing, es­pe­cially since the global re­ces­sion? How do Pak­istani in­vestor s de­fine the in­vest­ment cli­mate in Ser­bia? Pak­istani in­vestors have of late been show­ing keen in­ter­est to de­velop their re­la­tions with the Balkan coun­tries in­clud­ing Ser­bia. Pak­istani com­pa­nies are in­ter­ested to build up part­ner­ship with the Ser­bian en­ter­prises in the fields of tex­tile, leather goods, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and agri­cul­tural re­lated ma­chin­ery. Fur­ther Pak­istani in­vestors be­lieve they can earn a niche in di­verse field of Ser­bian econ­o­my­with sus­tained ef­forts. In what way does the ab­sence of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and Ser­bia af­fect Pak­istani in­vestor ' s de­ci­sions to build a sus­tain­able par tner ship with Ser­bian com­pa­nies? Re­gret­tably, as Ser­bia does not have an Em­bassy or Com­mer­cial Sec­tion in Pak­istan, the knowl­edge about Ser­bian mar­ket both for in­vest­ment and trad­ing is not read­ily avail­able to the lo­cal in­vestors/busi­ness­men. How­ever the gen­eral trend is not dis­cour­ag­ing. The Em­bassy of Pak­istan in Belgr ade of­fer s a great num­ber of Pak­istani com­pa­nies' con­tacts, rep­re­sent­ing as such var ious fields where col­la­bor ation be­tween two countr ies could be pos­si­ble. What is Your knowl­edge of Ser­bian in­vestor s act­ing out on Pak­istani mar­ket and vice-ver sa? Have Ser­bian com­pa­nies or the gov­ern­ment ex­press a more de­ter­mined in­ter­est in col­la­bor ation? About 14 Ser­bian com­pa­nies are cur­rently do­ing ac­tive busi­ness with Pak­istani coun­ter­parts. Ser­bian busi­ness­men have reg­u­larly par­tic­i­pated in Pak­istan's mega trade event, i.e. EXPO Pak­istan, which is an­nu­ally held in Karachi. Ser­bian busi­ness­men who have vis­ited Pak­istan re­cently have shown in­ter­est to set up part­ner­ship with Pak­istani coun­ter­parts in the field of tex­tile, leather goods, food items, di­ag­nos­tic equip­ments etc. Dur­ing the cur­rent year, a del­e­ga­tion of FPCCI is sched­uled to visit Ser­bia in sec­ond half of the year which would pro­vide a use­ful op­por­tu­nity to the busi­ness­men of the two coun­tries to de­velop un­der­stand­ing and good­will which will lead to greater eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two cham­bers. In addition the two gov­ern­ments are also work­ing to con­clude few eco­nomic agree­ments which will give nec­es­sary boost to bi­lat­eral trade. Pak­istan is a big mar­ket and Ser­bian com­pa­nies should take ad­van­tage of this. How do You see the fu­ture of eco­nomic re­la­tion of Pak­istan and Ser­bia? What would be the most suc­cess­ful area of cooper ation, nec­es­sary to both sides, af­fect­ing di­rectly the pop­u­la­tion? We can be guard­edly op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries. In or­der to re­al­ize the po­ten­tial, the two sides need to make con­certed ef­forts in­clud­ing the so­lu­tion of the visa prob­lem. Do re­gional po­lit­i­cal ten­sions and high cor rup­tion in Ser­bia hin­der Pak­istan's in­ter­est in in­vest­ing in this Balkan coun­try? More than any other fac­tor the trade re­la­tions de­pend on the com­ple­men­tar­ity of in­ter­ests which is the fun­da­men­tal re­quire­ment for the de­vel­op­ment of eco­nomic/trade re­la­tions. If the poli­cies are con­sis­tent and trans­par­ent, the ele­ment of po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity does not count that much. Your H. E. Mr. Muham­mad Nawaz Chaudhry how would You de­scr ibeYour stay in Belgr ade? How did you con­nect to Ser­bian cul­ture? My stay in Bel­grade has been quite re­ward­ing and en­joy­able. I have greatly been im­pressed with rich cul­tural legacy and the rich­ness of Ser­bian lit­er­ary tra­di­tions and ethos. *In­ter­viewed­byTan­jaMis­ce­vic,Spe­cialAs­sign­men­tEdi­torin

Ser­bia.

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