Karachi, June 28, 2013 (PPI-OT): Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s President Muhammad Haroon Agar has urged the High Commissioner of Canada Greg Giokas to invite fresh Canadian investment in Pakistan as the country is the most promising land in the region for investment and many multi-national corporations are operating successfully and expanding their businesses across Pakistan and beyond.
Exchanging views with the Canadian High Commissioner who was accompanied by Behram D. Avari, Hon. Consul General of Canada in Karachi during their visit to KCCI, Haroon Agar apprised that bilateral relations of Pakistan with Canada is based on development cooperation; people-to-people links; regional security and defence; governance and human rights; trade and investment.
The trade volume between the two countries is impressive and there is further room to enhance it to the significant levels. During FY12, Pakistan exported commodities worth $ 225.8Mn while imports from Canada stood at $ 365.1Mn. Both countries are desirous of increasing bilateral trade and investment in Pakistan to boost the economy. Canada and Pakistan held their third round of negotiations on May 28-29, 2012 in Ottawa. Previous negotiations held from October 31 to November 2, 2011 in Islamabad in Pakistan.
Haroon Agar hoped that Pakistan-Canada bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) will provide greater predictability and consideration for Canadian investors to invest in Pakistan. He was of the view that FIPA will provide a mechanism to protect investors through the establishment of a legal framework. Key sectors of interest and joint ventures between two countries are minerals, information technology and infrastructure.
The livestock and agriculture are the two areas in which cooperation could lead to a win-win situation for the two countries, he told. Pakistan exports textile articles, knitted or crocheted apparel, woven clothing and apparel articles, leather articles, Cotton, cotton yarns and cotton fabrics, Lac, gums, resins, Cereals, Furniture and stuffed furnishings, Carpets and other textile floor coverings while imports from Canada were oil seeds and fruit, grain, edible vegetables, Iron and steel, wood articles, charcoal, boilers, mechanical appliances, mineral fuels, oils, electrical machinery.
He was of the view that Pakistani exporters should take advantage of the recently implemented tariff cut in Canada. He underscored to frequent exchange of business delegations and organizing of exhibitions to further explore bilateral trade prospects.
High Commissioner of Canada Greg Giokas stated that Canada is supportive to Pakistan and see it as a land of immense natural resources, potential and strength. He was of the view that the world is also well aware about the potentials of Pakistan. Both countries maintain friendly political relations. He articulated that foreign investment was dropping in Pakistan. The concerns of Canadian investors are primarily transparency, legal protection of investment, predictability and security.
Canadian High Commissioner stated that the prime concern for Canadian Investment is the legal protection of investment. He voiced that Canadian company previously involved in Reko-Diq project in exploring gold and copper deposits under contract with the Government worked for years to prepare feasibility invested $ 400 Million is now going to International Arbitration which will likely be held in February next year. He opined that in the International Arbitration there is a high likelihood that arbitration will go against Pakistan.
He said that after Court’s decision in Pakistan the company was stopped to operate. High Commissioner was of the view that the said company invested enormous time, efforts and investment in Reko-Diq. The Federal and Provincial Governments conduct was not appropriate with the company, therefore, Canadian investors have concern on protection of investment.
High Commissioner stated that Canada can offer its expertise in agriculture and railways. The Canada Pacific Railway can tender for locomotives required by Pakistan Railway. He informed that the Canadian High Commission hosted a roundtable with the faculty of Faisalabad Agriculture University to explore possibilities of cooperation in agriculture, dairy and livestock. He opined that regional trade is crucial to uplift economy and to explore market access in the countries worldwide, Pakistan has to achieve a quantum leap in regional trade.
He appreciated smooth and peaceful transition of government through elections and was of the view that the new Government should accord priority to economic development and revise its policies as per their commitments. He apprised that Canada gave financial assistance of $20 Mn for Polio campaign, $170 Million for Educational Reforms and $8 Million to support electoral process in the recent elections.
Commenting on possibilities of Preferential or Free Trade Agreement between two countries he stated that such arrangements cannot be possible in the absence of vibrant reciprocal trade. The recent negotiations on Pakistan-Canada Bilateral Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) were not much meaningful. Energy, Infrastructure and Transportation need deserving attention by the new Government. To enhance two-way trade the business communities on both sides have to play their productive role, he concluded.
Ather Moin Khan, Canadian Trade Commissioner in Karachi, Majyd Aziz, Former President KCCI, Shamim Firpo, Senior Vice President, Nasir Mehmood, Vice President and Managing Committee Members also participated in the meeting and exchanged views.
For more information, contact:
M. Shafiq Baig
Public Relations Officer
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)
Tel: +9221 9921 8001 -09
Fax: +9221 9921 8010
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com