Foreign Minister of Pakistan Meets United kingdom Trade Minister
Islamabad: The Foreign Minister of Pakistan Ms Hina Rabbani Khar had a bilateral meeting with Lord Stephen Green, UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office this morning. He briefed her on his recent visit to Pakistan and discussed the way forward. As a result of his visit he said he was very keen to formulate a UK Pakistan business forum which would work for strengthening of the existing Forum i.e. Pakistan Britain Trade and Investment Forum (PBTIF) and also take the Pakistani Diaspora into account.
The Foreign Minister welcomed Lord Green’s feedback from his Pakistan’s visit and agreed that a road map to the Pakistan Britain bilateral trade and investment relations was essential.
Lord Green mentioned that in the coming weeks he would work with the Pakistani business community here in the UK and British companies to showcase effective trading opportunities targeted especially for the burgeoning middle class in Pakistan. Lord Green informed that the roadmap for trade and investment would cover an annual Pakistan Britain Business Conference, and sector specific delegations from UK to Pakistan and vice versa.
Ms Khar reiterated that as a policy Pakistan was not seeking aid, however, it would welcome any assistance offered by a country. Pakistan was actively seeking trade which is transformative, she said. She informed that in the last three years tax collection in Pakistan had arisen from 1100 billion to 1900 billion Pak Rupee. She noted that the energy sector in Pakistan had space for expansion and an appetite for growth and investment.
She said that British businesses in Pakistan were Pakistan’s constituency and the Government was keen to resolve any obstacle in the way to British businesses’ growth in Pakistan. Regarding the privatization programme in Pakistan, the Foreign Minister noted that the Government would try to look for a better time to off-load whereas at present the emphasis was to increase the tax base.
The Foreign Minister also explained Pakistan’s discussion for gas pipeline from Qatar which should be in Pakistan’s system within next one year. She also noted that the international community must understand that Pakistan seeks to live in peace and harmony and to the mutual benefits of all its neighbours especially for its own interest. “In this regard, the discussions on Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline are underway and we are hopeful that the gas from this pipeline would begin be in our system in the next two years.
Both the Ministers agreed that two business delegations in the near future would be arranged from UK to Pakistan covering sectors of mutual interests i.e. retail and energy. Both sides agreed to immediately develop a medium term trade and investment engagement road map.
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