Lahore, March 11, 2014 (PPI-OT): Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Greg Giokas Tuesday pledged technical assistance and full support to ensure the easy access of Pakistani business community to Canadian markets. He vowed to make all out efforts to boost mutual trade, saying that the time was ripe to strengthen further the economic relations.
The Canadian High Commissioner was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari formally welcomed the High Commissioner and shared with him the methodology to increase the volume of two-way trade and bilateral investment. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Tariq Misbah, Vice President Kashif Anwar, former President Mian Anjum Nisar, former Vice President Saeeda Nazar, Executive Committee Members Mian Muhammad Afzal, Mian Zahid Javed and Muhammad Aslam Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion.
The High Commissioner said that Canada is desirous of increasing its bilateral trade and investment as there are a number of sectors where huge potential for cooperation exists. He said that Energy and Agriculture are the two areas in which cooperation could lead to a win-win situation for the two countries.
He said that the High Commission would continue to assist business people and organizations seeking to strengthen Canada-Pakistan economic relations and commercial ties; and to Pakistanis and Canadians interested in expanding cooperation in a wide range of fields.
Canadian High Commissioner said that Pakistan has a lot of natural resources including vast agricultural and mineral base. However, it needs structural reforms that is, in education, skill development and taxation.
He said that Pakistan is considered as a middle income country and Canada wants to see it peaceful, prosperous and progressive.
He said: “Under WTO, we must focus on developing its competency through trainings and skill development of the manpower especially in agriculture. We would have to improve our quality, yield and certification of our produce”.
He noted that Pakistan government needs due consultations with businessmen and other stakeholders to come with practical policies for developing and putting agriculture sector on modern line assuring high yield for the benefit of the country and its large farming community. It needs comprehensive policies and their true implementation.
The Canadian High Commissioner said that his country has focused on tariff regime. It had initiated tariff reforms leading to preferential tariffs since 2010 and Pakistani business community should avail these tariff cuts.
He shared his country’s experiences regarding opening of economy and trade especially with its neighbouring countries. He informed that majority of Canadian people showed strong negative reaction and became a controversial issue when Canada signed free trade agreement (FTA) with United States. However, the result came totally different. It helped generate a great economic activity in Canada and now we have also huge trade with US.
He advocated that Pakistan should open its economy particularly for the neighbours. “ We should find deficiencies and fundamentally review our structural policies to benefit from the emerging changes on global economic scenario.”
He suggested that Pakistan should not hesitate in going forward with the Most Favoured Nation status to India as this would be in the interest of both the people. The regional trade is being focused in the world and it has proved very beneficial for all the trading partners.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that Canada has always supported Pakistan on various policy issues and has been among the leading countries to assist Pakistan in its efforts to acquire sustainable economic growth.
He said that two-way trade statistics show concern and hope both as the volume of trade done with Canada is minimal in terms of total trade of Canada and the ray of hope is the room for enhancing the current level of bilateral trade to a new level. He said that a little sector-specific effort can jack-up trade volume to around US$ 2 billion in next few years.
He said that the target can only be achieved by undertaking frequent activities like exchange of businessman delegations, organizing single country exhibitions, participation in fairs and exhibitions, seminars and workshops.
He said that the dynamic entrepreneurial class of Pakistan is the best bet to enter into joint ventures to reap the benefits of the economies of scale by catering to a large regional market. He said that main sectors of opportunity for Canadian businesses and joint ventures include Power and energy, Agri-food-breeding stock, food processing equipment and technology, Telecommunications/Information Technology, Metals and minerals-equipment, services and technology.
Responding to High Commissioner’s remarks on trade with India, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari made it clear that Pakistan’s business community was quite interested in doing business with their Indian counterparts but the Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) were coming in the way. He said that as soon as the Indian government lifts these NTBs there would be phenomenal increase in bilateral trade volume.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854