ISLAMABAD, Oct 3 (APP): Pakistan has been assured of
continued preferential treatment to its good in the United Kingdom, during the visit of Secretary Commerce, Azmat Ali Ranjha.

Secretary Commerce had an important meeting at
Foreign and Commonwealth office with Mr Owen Jenkins, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP), on September 30, 2016.

During the meeting Secretary Commerce explained the
objectives of his current visit to the UK which was to engage
at the highest level with the British authorities regarding
the continuity of trade relations of Pakistan with UK in the
post Brexit phase, according to a message received here from London on Monday.

Owen Jenkins assured the Secretary that their current
Government believed in free trade, and no artificial trade barriers. He also acknowledged the positive development in Pakistan especially the successful completion of IMF programme which basically reflected upon the commitment of the Government of Pakistan to the economic reforms agenda.

He informed that three factors are important in defining British trade relations with the outside world. First is the size of the market and volume of trade; second, the importance of political relations; and third, the ease of doing business.
He assured that the GSP Plus arrangement with Pakistan
will continue as it is a country Britain enjoys close relations with. The future trade relations will also be developed keeping in view mutual benefits, Mr Jenkins stated.

Secretary Commerce highlighted the successes which the
current government has achieved on the economic front and
talked about renewed interest of the global community in

He also update Mr Jenkins on improved security
environment in the country. Mr Ranjha expressed Pakistan’s desire to develop a closer economic relations with the UK with special focus on the services sector.

He informed about the opening up of the insurance sector
in Pakistan which offers a good deal of opportunities for the British Businesses to add value.

Owen Jenkins welcomed the initiative to liberalize the
insurance sector in Pakistan. He also acknowledged the achievements of Operation Zarb e Azb. Mr Jenkins said that Pakistan has got a lot of potential and it is a market waiting to be explored.

He suggested holding of regular G2G and B2B meetings
between two sides to further strengthen the bilateral ties. Mr Jenkins also talked about boosting regional trade and integration for which Britain is ready to play its role and offered technical assistance in this regard, acknowledging that regional cooperation in South Asia could increase economic growth.

Secretary Commerce talked about the challenges which we
are facing in the realization of regional economic integration. However he said that with China we have excellent commercial relations.

Since signing of FTA with China, the trade volumes have
experienced exponential growth. With Iran and Afghanistan, we are making progress, added the Secretary.

Owen Jenkins expressed British desire in China Pakistan
Economic Corridor (CPEC), projects. Secretary Commerce invited Mr Jenkins to visit Pakistan and Ministry of Commerce during the course of his next visit which he accepted.

Later, a delegation of UK Export Fund (*UKEF*), headed
by its CEO Mr. Louis Taylor met with Secretary Commerce at the Pakistan High Commission in London. He said, Pakistan is viewed as an attractive investment destination with a big market, rising middle class and lot of opportunities available in various sectors especially in energy sector.

UKEF is basically available to fill the gaps where
ordinary banks may not have the will to extend credit facilities.

This organization is able to give guarantee but for that
they need to ensure that the export has got a minimum UK content. They are however keen to discuss specific trade opportunities with the Pakistan’s Government.

Secretary commerce welcomed the interest of UKEF in
Pakistan. He explained in detail the economic turnaround of
Pakistan due to current Government’s efficient economic management.

He also talked about the opportunities where Britain can
fill in the gap and enhance business relations between the two countries. Mr. Louis Taylor acknowledged the successful completion of IMF program by Pakistan.

He informed about the possibility of arranging two way
trade delegations and close collaboration in common interest activities.

Secretary Commerce informed about the establishment of
Pakistan’s EXIM Bank and asked for their support.
The UKEF is basically a part of newly formed Department
for International Trade (DIT). UKEF is meant for export promotion especially in the private sector.

The meeting marked the conclusion of the visit of
Secretary Commerce in which Pakistan got assurance of
continued preferential treatment of its goods in the
British market on the lines of GSP Plus.

Pakistan was also assured of negotiations for a mutually
beneficial trade arrangement.