ISLAMABAD, Mar 21 (APP):SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday said Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad visit to Pakistan would herald new vistas of economic co-operation and a milestone in further cementing bilateral relationship between both the Muslim brotherly countries on sound footings.

Talking to a 10 members delegation of Pak-Malaysia traders Senior Vice President Iftikhar Ali Malik said Pakistan was the second-largest trading partner of Malaysia in South East Asia last year,” says a press release issued here today.

Therefore, both countries should make efforts to take these relations to a new level by aggressively exploring opportunities for joint ventures in various sectors.

He said that the current increase in bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia followed the signing of a Free Trade Agreement between the two countries in 2007.
But Pakistan’s share in bilateral trade is only $257 million, which has tilted the balance of trade heavily in favour of Malaysia.
He stressed the need to address this imbalance through increasing export of Pakistani products to Malaysia.

Pakistani business community wants to strengthen trade ties and exploring new bilateral trade prospects with Malaysia. “We believe Pakistan’s improved relations and enhanced trade with brotherly countries like Malaysia would ensure prosperity and create a win-win situation for both the countries”, he said.
He said that Malaysian companies can choose between setting-up a liaison office, branch office or incorporate a Pakistani company as either its wholly owned subsidiary or joint venture with a Pakistani / overseas partner.

He opined that there was a huge potential for joint ventures and investment in the areas of Islamic Finance, Halal food industries, Energy, Low cost housing, infrastructure development, telecommunications and education.

He also proposed having a dialogue with the business community in both the countries and make room for having more agreements to launch new initiatives.

Malaysia and Pakistan enjoyed warm and friendly relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1957, adding he said both the countries shared similar position on regional and international issues through their common membership in the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and G-77 organization.
In addition, Pakistan is also a sectoral dialogue partner of ASEAN and a member of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

He further said Malaysia and Pakistan have new governments and both are on similar ground and heading towards the fight of corruption and to develop good governance within the public and private sector.
These similarities open ways for further collaboration between the two countries.

Iftikhar Malik said Pakistan should also invite Malaysia to become part in the mega-project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He said that Pakistan is the most suitable country for direct and indirect investment and Prime Minister Imran Khan has offered one the best package of incentives to all foreign investors and announced highly liberal visa regime to attract tourists and investors.

“The economic corridor will not only provide China with cheaper access to Africa and the Middle East but will also earn Pakistan billions of dollars for providing transit facilities to the world’s second-largest economy,” he concluded.