Islamabad : H.E. Nawaf Saeed Al-Malkiy, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia said that Saudi Arabia wanted to further deepen and strengthen its trade ties with Pakistan as both countries have great scope to promote trade in many areas. He said that Saudi Arabia wanted to see Pakistan as a growing economy as it was a very important country for the whole Muslim Ummah. He said this while addressing the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The envoy said that Saudi Arabia intended to further expand its commercial and investment cooperation with Pakistan. He said that Pakistan has a lot of potential for economic growth that should be highlighted more effectively to attract foreign investors. He urged that the media should focus on projecting the positive things of Pakistan to change wrong perception about it. He said that misperceptions about Pakistan in foreign world needed to be changed to unlock its real economic potential. He assured that he would continue to work for further promoting trade cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
Speaking at the occasion, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI) said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed very cordial relations, but the bilateral trade of around US$ 3.5 billion was much below the real potential of both countries, therefore, strenuous efforts from both sides were needed to improve it. He said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were doing trade in limited items and they should focus on diversification of trade to achieve better results. He said that many high quality and cost effective Pakistani products including Halal food products, pharmaceuticals, textiles, surgical instruments, rice, fruits, dairy products, sports wears, leather products, financial services, insurance & IT services and entertainment products could find good market in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia should focus on importing these products from Pakistan.
Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan emphasized that both countries should focus on strengthening B2B contacts, exchange of trade delegations and participation in trade fairs on reciprocal basis to improve trade volume. He said that Pakistan was establishing many special economic zones under CPEC and investors of Saudi Arabia should explore JVs and investment in these SEZs. He said that Pakistan was working for a One Window for investors that would facilitate Saudi investors to invest in Pakistan. He said that ICCI would try to take a delegation to Saudi Arabia to meet with trade bodies of Saudi Arabia in order to explore mutual business collaboration. Similarly, ICCI would like to host a trade delegation of Saudi Arabia in Pakistan and would help them in exploring JVs and investment in Pakistani SEZs.
Mian Akram Farid, Chairman Founder Group ICCI lauded the efforts of Saudi Ambassador for improving trade ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. He said that Pakistani SEZs offered great potential for Saudi investors and they should explore JVs and investment in Pakistan. He said that ICCI was working for an industrial estate and Saudi investors have good prospects to set up industrial units in it.
Fatma Azim Senior Vice President, Abdul Rehman Khan Vice President ICCI, Aslam Khokhar and others also spoke at the occasion and shared ideas for further promoting bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries.
At this occasion, Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan President ICCI and H.E. Nawaf Saeed Al-Malkiy, Ambassador of Saudi Arabia signed an MoU of cooperation to work jointly for promoting business relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.