More Japanese cos. likely to invest in Pakistan, trade to increase : Japanese Ambassador

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KARACHI, Mar 7 (APP): The economic relations between Japan and Pakistan have grown over last couple of years and will further strengthen in future.
More Japanese companies were interested to invest in different sectors in Pakistan. However, there was need for more steps to increase bilateral trade and investment to tap big potential existing on both sides, said Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Takashi KURAI here.
He was speaking at 9th annual general meeting of Pakistan Japan Business Forum (PJBF) on Monday night at the residence of PJBF’s Vice President Kaleem Farooqui.
Consul General of Japan in Karachi Toshikazu Isomura, Country Director of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Osamu HISAKI, Marubeni Corporation’s General Manager for Pakistan K.Ushimaru, PJBF’s President Sohail P. Ahmed and its Vice President Kalim Farooqui were also present.
Japanese Ambassador said that for more involvement of Japanese companies with Pakistani market, mainly four things were required : better security situation, infrastructure development, stable, reliable and predictable legal system, and administrative measures. And, he endorsed, there was visible improvement on these accounts.
“ I came to Pakistan in last April, since then law and order has significantly improved. Still more needs to be done,” he remarked.
He informed that eighty Japanese companies were operating in Pakistan; eighteen in Karachi. In Pakistan, Japanese companies were mainly engaged in auto sector. In fiscal year 2015-16, Japanese companies invested dollars 74 million in Pakistan.
“ I hope, more Chinese companies will come to Pakistan,” he said.
He said Japan was providing support to Pakistan in power sector as
well.
Now, the shift of Japanese companies was to the fast moving consumers goods—for which Pakistan was a potential market.
He told that an international brand Japanese milk powder producing company Morinaga Dairy was setting up a plant in Sheikhpura town of Punjab with initial investment of eight million dollars and would start its production in April 2018.
Panasonic had open its show room in Karachi in last October.
Ajinomoto had entered a joint venture with Lakson Group in last July. All Japanese automobile companies Suzuki, Honda and Toyota had introduced new car models to Pakistani market.
In fiscal year 2015, the bilateral trade was around two billion dollars and it would continue to grow, he was optimistic.
Japanese Ambassador said that on the eve of 65th anniversary of friendly relations between the two countries, Japanese Embassy and its consulates had planned many commemorative events on larger scale throughout Pakistan than the normal routine activities.
He said these cultural events would highlight the long and strong friendship of Japan and Pakistan, and the leadership of both the countries would realize to have more political contacts ; which definitely would boost trade and investment.
On his behalf and of the embassy’s staff, Japanese Embassador assured of full cooperation and support for promotion of bilateral trade and investment.
The Ambassador praised the role of PJBF in promoting two-way trade and investment.
He recalled that PJBF delegation led by its President Sohail P. Ahmed visited Japan last year and had meetings with Japanese companies which motivated them to take interest in Pakistani products. That, an agreement was signed between small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of the two countries.Country Director, Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) Osamu HISAKI suggested that Pakistan’s economic potential be dully projected in the world. More Japanese
investors need to be awared about Pakistan economy.
“Japanese know less about Pakistan economy,” he observed.
He noted as a good sign that per capital income and expenditure in
Pakistan was increasing by 10 percent every year.
The policy (interest) rate fixed by State Bank of Pakistan was very encouraging for investment in Pakistan. The government’s foreign investment and trade policies were also very attractive, he said.
In some cases, however, there were tax irritants which should be reviewed by Pakistani authorities for promotion of bilateral trade, he said.
He mentioned that the main exports from Pakistan to Japan was textile products and the main import was automotive and other auto accessories.
“ I wish, Pakistan should go for more value-addition in textile to catch good share of international market including of Japan,” he remarked.
He said the recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan sent negative message to Japan.
Overall, he said, the situation here was better.
He said Japanese and Pakistani businessmen could enter joint ventures in different sectors and it was very effective form of investment.
In September 2016, President JETRO had a detailed meeting with Chairman Board of Investment Dr.Mifta Ismail. Since then, we were in close association with each other and JETRO carried different activities to disseminate information about Pakistan’s economy.
JETRO Director unveiled that soon Japanese high level delegation would visit Pakistan to explore trade and investment opportunities. Majority members of the delegation would be from private sectors.
K.USHIMARU, Marubeni’s General Manager for Pakistan, operating here as an independent power producer (IPP) described his four stay in Karachi as very good period of his life.
He appreciated the present government’s policies and noted that overall the situation was getting better in Pakistan.
He told Japanese company Tapal was doing best in power sector.
Japanese companies were mostly involved in thermal power generation.
However, they might also engage in gas-fed power generation in future.
He also informed that Japanese wanted to invest in different sectors in Pakistan.