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US wants to further enhance trade with Pakistan – Envoy – Fnni.org

Islamabad (FNNI) H.E. Mr. David Hale, Ambassador of USA said that Pakistan was an important ally of US against the war on terror and his country wanted to further enhance trade with it as the promotion of two-way trade would be mutually beneficial for both countries. He was talking to a delegation of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry that called on him led by President Khalid Iqbal Malik.

Khalid Malik Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Mian Akram Farid, Mian Shaukat Masud, Zafar Bakhtawari, Nasir Qureshi and Muhammad Faheem Khan were in the delegation.

US Envoy said that Pakistan was an agricultural country but was using old technology and added that Pakistan could increase its agricultural productivity manifold by using latest agro technology and machinery of USA. He said security situation was improving in Pakistan which was laudable. He said improved security would attract more investors from the USA and other countries to Pakistan and help trade and industrial activities to flourish. He said the newly elected President of US was a businessman and he knew very well the importance of promoting business relations with other countries. He was optimistic that during the tenure of new US administration, Pak-US trade, and economic relations would get a further boost.

Speaking at the occasion, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Pak-US bilateral trade during January-October 2016 was around $4.533 billion. However, he said there was lot more potential to further enhance two-way trade. He said both countries should work to facilitate direct contacts between their private sectors which were the best way to improve trade relations. He said Pakistan’s economy suffered a huge loss of $107 billion due to fighting a war against terror and urged that the US should provide easy access to more Pakistani products to its market that would be the best compensation for its economic loss. He said the US should launch direct flights to Pakistan that will help in promoting trade as well.

He said apart from defense products, both countries should focus on enhancing trade in many other areas. He said embassy should play role in bringing chambers of commerce of both countries closer that would help in identifying new areas of mutual cooperation. He said Pakistan manufactured high-quality pharmaceutical products and the USA should try to import these products from Pakistan for the benefit of its customers.

Khalid Malik Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Mian Akram Farid, Mian Shaukat Masud, Zafar Bakhtawari, Nasir Qureshi and others also spoke at the occasion and shared ideas for further improving bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and USA.

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Iranian Envoy pinpoints lack of banking channels as major hurdle for promoting Pak-Iran bilateral trade – Fnni.org

Islamabad (FNNI) H.E. Mr. Mehdi Honardoost, Ambassador of Iran said that Pakistan and Iran have tremendous potential to promote bilateral trade in various sectors, but the lack of payment mechanism through banking channels was the major hurdle in realizing these goals. He said that despite having a preferential trade agreement between the two countries, Iran’s trade with Afghanistan was five times more than Pakistan. He said Iran has $20 billion annual bilateral trade with Turkey and $50 billion with China, but almost negligible trade with Pakistan, which was unfortunate. He said this while addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

When the Iranian envoy was apprised that his country has imposed high tariffs on some Pakistani products, he said that signing of free trade agreement between Iran and Pakistan would resolve all these problems. He said Iranians preferred Pakistani products and stressed that Pakistan should step up efforts for early signing of FTA with Iran. He said Iran’s biotechnology was better than many European countries and added that Pakistan could achieve beneficial results for its economy by enhancing cooperation with Iran in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and other fields. He said one Iranian company spent one million to bring electricity from Iran to Gwadar but was not getting the encouraging response from Pakistan. He assured that his embassy would fully cooperate with Pakistani business community in enhancing trade with Iran.

Speaking at the occasion, Khalid Iqbal Malik President, Khalid Malik Senior Vice President and Tahir Ayub Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Iran has imposed high tariffs on Pakistani products including textiles, clothing, leather products, rice, fruits and vegetables which ranged from 90% to 200% and stressed that Iran should reconsider its high tariffs to facilitate Pakistan’s private sector in promoting trade with it. They said that Iran maintained a permit system for imports and whenever it wanted to restrict the import of certain items, it refused to issue import permits which were also hindering exports of Pakistan to Iran. They emphasized that Iran should review its import permit system to facilitate Pakistani exporters.

Zafar Bakhtawari, Khalid Chaudhry, Zikria A Zia, Shamim Ahmed Khan, Nasir Ali and others also spoke at the occasion and that stressed that Pakistan and Iran could focus on the frequent exchange of trade delegations and organize exhibitions in each other country to explore new avenues of two-way trade promotion. They said Pakistan should import gas and electricity from Iran to overcome its energy crisis and facilitate the growth of business and industrial activities in the country.

Saudi Arabia asked to focus on enhancing imports from Pakistan – Fnni.org

Saudi Arabia asked to focus on enhancing imports from Pakistan – Fnni.org

Islamabad (FNNI) A delegation of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by President Khalid Iqbal Malik called on H.E. Abdullah Marzouq Al-Zahrani, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia in his office and discussed ways & means for further enhancing bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Khalid Malik, Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub, Vice President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Amin ur Rehman were also in the delegation. Abd ur Rehman, Commercial Attaché of Saudi Embassy was also present at the occasion.

Speaking at the occasion, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed historically good relations which should be transformed into growing trade and economic relations to achieve more beneficial results for the two countries. He said Saudi Arabia imported billion dollars’ worth of products including machines, engines, pumps, electronic equipment, iron or steel products, gems & precious metals, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, cereals, medical & technical equipment and plastics as its imports during 2015 amounted to US$ 170 billion. He said Pakistan could supply many of these products to Saudi Arabia and it should focus on enhancing its imports from our country.

He said Pakistan offered lucrative opportunities to Saudi investors in many sectors of its economy including oil & gas, petroleum & petrochemicals, energy, textiles, banking & financial services, fertilizer, gems & jewelry, light engineering, furniture, food & fruit processing, packaging, livestock, dairy farming, fisheries, infrastructure development etc. He stressed that Saud investors should be apprised of these attractive prospects so that they could exploit these opportunities in Pakistan for achieving beneficial outcomes.

Khalid Malik, Senior Vice President and Tahir Ayub, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Saudi Arabia has initiated some mega construction projects and it should explore importing cement, steel, marble and other construction related products from Pakistan. They said both countries should cooperate in training programs to enhance export of skilled manpower from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.

Addressing the delegation, H.E. Abdullah Marzouq Al-Zahrani, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia said that his country considered Pakistan an important trading partner and wanted to further enhance import of many products from it. He said Pakistani businessmen could promote trade volume with Saudi Arabia by improving the quality of their products.

He said Saudi investors were interested in investment and joint ventures in various sectors of Pakistan’s economy. He identified steel manufacturing and food processing as potential areas for joint ventures between the two countries. He stressed that both countries should organize single country exhibitions and encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations to explore all untapped areas of mutual collaboration. He assured that his Embassy would facilitate Pakistani business community in exploring business opportunities in Saudi Arabia.

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National Press Club delegation visits ICCI – Fnni.org

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National Press Club delegation visits ICCI – Fnni.org

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Islamabad (FNNI) A delegation of National Press Club Islamabad led by its President, Shekeel Anjum visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and assured to highlight the issues of business community in media. Naveed Akbar Senior Vice President, Imran Dhilon Secretary General NPC, Abbas Shabbir, Ahmed Nawaz, Amanullah, Asim Jilani, Farukh Ejaz, Ibrahim Qambar, Javed Baloch, Khan Gulzar, Mohsin Ejaz, Nazash Tauheed, Shakila Jalil, Farah Naz, Pervez Mughal, Rana Zahid, Shams Abbas, Shiraz Gerdezi and others were in the delegation.

Addressing the delegation, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that print and electronic media was playing important role in educating the society on matters of national interest and highlighting key issues of the economy, which was laudable.

He said business community was facing many issues including high taxes and NPC should cooperate in highlighting its issues for urgent redress that will help in promoting business activities. He said print and electronic media should present comprehensive analysis of CPEC and other important projects for better protection of national interest. He said close liaison of NPC with trade bodies was necessary to understand issues of business and economy and come up with workable solutions.

He said media was giving more coverage to political issues while it was the age of economic wars and media should give more focus to highlight the economic issues. He assured that ICCI would cooperate with NPC in its endeavors aimed at economic prosperity of the country.

Shakeel Anjum, President, NPC said that their organization has now become self-sufficient and independent. He said NPC was playing important role in protecting the interests of journalistic community. He said both organizations have some common ground to work jointly. He said business community was playing positive role in the economic development of the country and assured that NPC would cooperate with ICCI in highlighting the key issues of business community.

Khalid Malik Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Naveed Akbar Senior Vice President, Imran Dhilon Secretary General NPC, Mian Akram Farid, Khalid Chaudhry, Ishaq Chaudhry, Saud Saher, Sheryar Khan, Farah Naz and other also spoke at the occasion.

Turkish delegation visits ICCI to explore business collaborations- Fnni.org

Turkish delegation visits ICCI to explore business collaborations- Fnni.org

Islamabad (FNNI ) A delegation of MUSIAD visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by Vice Chairman for Fair, Forum and Organization Commission Omur Yildiz and discussed possibilities for further enhancing business collaborations between the private sectors of Turkey and Pakistan. MUSIAD is an independent association of Turkish industrialists and businessmen that represents 46000 enterprises with 11,000 members in Turkey and abroad.

Omur Yildiz said MUSIAD was organizing its 16th Expo at Istanbul, Turkey from 9-12 November 2016 and invited Pakistani businessmen to participate in this important event to enhance their business prospects. He said over 400 national and more than 250 international companies will participate in the Expo while over 100,000 visitors were anticipated to attend the event. He said the Expo would offer good platform to Pakistani business community for trade cooperation and global partnerships with businessmen and investors of Turkey and other countries.

In his welcome address, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Pakistan and Turkey enjoyed very cordial relations since long and stressed that these good relations should be transformed into strong business partnerships for the mutual benefit of both countries. He said the potential for economic cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey has not been fully exploited as yet because the bilateral trade of less than US$ 1 billion was far less than their real potential. He emphasized that both countries should focus on frequent exchange of trade delegations and organize single country exhibitions to improve two-way trade.

He said CPEC offered huge investment opportunities and Turkish investors should focus on energy, infrastructure development, construction, information technology, food processing, agro-based products, dairy development, furniture & hotel industry, tourism and resorts development sectors in Pakistan for joint ventures and investment. He assured that ICCI delegation will try to participate in the MUSIAD Expo 16 to explore business opportunities.

Khalid Malik Senior Vice President and Tahir Ayub Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry also spoke at the occasion and urged that Pakistan and Turkey should focus on signing a Free Trade Agreement to facilitate trade promotion. They said both countries should establish direct road and railways links that would greatly help in further improving bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Turkey.

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ICCI lauds SBP’s plan to provide Rs.400 billion loans to SMEs

Islamabad (Bureau Report) The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry has lauded the plan of State Bank of Pakistan to extend loans of Rs.400 billion to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by 2020 through National Finance Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and termed it a highly positive move as it would enable the small and medium enterprises to innovate, upgrade, improve productivity and play more effective role in the economic development of the country.

Atif Ikram Sheikh, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that SMEs were the backbone of our economy as they constituted 95 percent of the enterprises in Pakistan, provided jobs to 80% of non-agricultural labor force, contributed 40 percent to GDP and 35 percent to exports, therefore, it was essential that government should come up with new strategies to strengthen the SME sector in the country. He said easy access to finance was the major challenge for SMEs which constrained their growth as the formal lending to these enterprises has come down from 17% in 2008 to just 6% in 2014.

He said Pakistan was a country of rising population and the best way to create more jobs was to facilitate the growth of SMEs as according to a World Bank study, SMEs created 4 out of every 5 jobs. He stressed that government should create a supportive regulatory environment for SMEs and provide them easy access to finance and technology that would help them in optimizing their productivity.

He said the world economy was grappling with numerous challenges and many governments were increasingly looking towards SMEs as a key driver of sustained and inclusive growth. He said if properly supported, SMEs has the potential to play more active role in achieving stronger and more inclusive growth in Pakistan. He said government should reduce taxes and duties on alternate energy solutions for SMEs. He said government should also consider establishing new state-or-the-art and specialized industrial estates for SMEs to unlock their true potential for economic growth.
He urged that government should offer special incentives and tax-relief programs to promote transfer of new technologies among the SMEs. He appreciated the SBP commitment to provide financial access to 50 per cent of the SMEs in the country through the National Finance Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) and extending loans of Rs.400 billion to these enterprises by 2020. He hoped that this move by the SBP would go a long way in promoting SME sector and help in triggering fast economic growth in the country.