ISLAMABAD (APP): Member Parliament House of Commons UK Anum Qaiser Sunday said that the United Kingdom wants to increase bilateral trade with Pakistan from existing £3 billion to £10 billion in order to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.
Talking to chairman UK-Pakistan Business Council (UPBC) Mian Kashif Ashfaq here, she said that improvement in bilateral trade and economic relations between the UK and Pakistan would bring progress and prosperity to both countries.
She said that about 5,000 UK companies were doing business in the UAE, but only 150 companies were in Pakistan despite the fact that Pakistan was a huge market of over 220 million people.
Ms Anum emphasised that Pakistan should focus on addressing the issues of red tape and other bottlenecks along with ensuring a predictable and growth-oriented tax regime to attract more investors from the UK and other countries.She said that the UK was focusing on four areas for close cooperation with Pakistan which included healthcare, education, green energy and infrastructure.
She said that the UK could also cooperate with Pakistan in agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and other sectors to make its economy more competitive. She added that the UK would try to provide preferential access for Pakistani products to its market, which would further improve its exports.
Talking about export of fruits and vegetables to the UK, Ms Anum Qaiser said that Pakistani exporters should work on meeting UK standards to gain better penetration into its food market.
She stressed that Pakistani companies should focus on better marketing of their products as insufficient focus in that area was keeping them away from promoting exports up to their real potential.
She said that the UK had issued advisories for its citizens to encourage them to visit Pakistan.
She said that the British Deputy High Commissioner in Karachi Mike Nithavrianakis had also recently visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and assured the ICCI that he would cooperate with its delegation in trip to the UK and in connecting them with the right partners.
Honorary Consul General of the republic of Moldova Mian Mahmood Ul Hassan,eminent scholar Dr Waqar Ch visiting faculty School of Communication Studies Punjab University and traders from Manchester Muhammad Azam Khan, Shaharyar Khan, Asfund Yar Khan and Mehr Khan were also present on the occasion.
Mian Kashif Ashfaq welcomed her on visit to Pakistan and said that there was great potential for promoting bilateral trade between Pakistan and the UK for which better connectivity between private sectors of the two sides was needed.
He said that Pakistan under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan was expanding its industrial base through the development of Special Economic Zones and added that UK companies should explore joint venture and investment avenues in such facilities.
He was of the view that close cooperation between UK and Pakistani companies would help in producing value added products.Those Pakistani companies which were supplying A-grade products should be connected with British firms to enhance their exports, he said.
Mian Kashif Ashfaq who is also former Chairman Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company ( FIEDMC) cited agriculture, industry, IT, mining and tourism as potential areas of cooperation between Pakistan and the UK.
He said that the UPBC would connect the British High Commission with P@SHA to shortlist at least 200 Pakistani companies which could provide software products and services to the UK.
He added that UPBC would also try to connect local businesses with UK companies to bring their franchises to Pakistan. He said that many UK companies in Pakistan were doing better business as compared to some other countries and more should come to capitalise on the emerging business opportunities in Pakistani market.
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