Pakistan, UAE working on new ‘economic roadmap’

ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (APP): Pakistan and the UAE are working on a new “economic roadmap” to boost bilateral trade volume and establish joint ventures between the two nations’ businesses and chambers of commerce, senior officials said.

“We want to establish a new economic roadmap with the UAE for enhancing bilateral trade, manufacturing through joint ventures, alliances and exchange of services,” said President of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, who last week met with Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Pakistan, Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Alzaabi.

Talking about his meeting with the UAE ambassador, Khan said the main focus was ways to enhance bilateral trade and establish alliances and joint ventures in different sectors.

“We have only $14 billion bilateral trade which is much less than actual potential,” Khan said in an interview with Arab News.

“Both the countries have potential in multiple things like hospitality, retail, services and manufacturing. We are working to find the missing areas so that we can fill those gaps to boost bilateral trade,” Khan added, saying many international brands based in UAE were not present in Pakistan, so both sides could collaborate to bring them here.

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“There are lot of companies in UAE which are operating in the manufacturing of tiles and many other products,” Khan said.

“Their distribution is going through European and Chinese. We are looking at the prospects of getting distribution of such companies to bring their products and services in Pakistan.”

He said many big hotel chains which are based in UAE could also be brought to Pakistan to boost the tourism sector.

“As a next step to this meeting, we are going to the Emirates next month for a meeting with the UAE chamber of commerce and other officials. We are also going to ask UAE government through the chamber to facilitate us in business visas,” Khan added.

Earlier Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, said there was “good” potential to enhance trade between Pakistan and UAE, adding that Pakistani businesses needed to be more aggressive and push hard to market their products in the UAE.

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“The Emirates can be the biggest market for Pakistani halal food products, meat, poultry, rice, fruits and vegetables,” he said. “Another area which picking up in Pakistan is processed food and Gulf countries are the biggest market for these products.”

“We have got to get into a strategic alliance with UAE so that the Emirates must look to Pakistan for their food security,” he added.

A statement from the ICCI said: “Pakistan has great potential to export many products to UAE. Pakistani manufacturers should do proper marketing of their exportable products to boost exports up to their actual potential.

Pakistani meat products were going to Jordan and other countries from UAE, which showed that Pakistan could make a significant increase in its exports by getting better penetration in the UAE market.”

The statement quoted the UAE envoy as saying more than 7,000 Pakistani companies were registered in the UAE and he would work to address any challenges being faced by them.