Malaysian companies keen to invest in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: (APP) Former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Wednesday said many Malaysian companies were keen to do business in Pakistan and both countries should focus on close collaboration for promoting joint ventures.
Badawi, who is on a visit to Pakistan leading a Malaysian delegation, said they were here to explore new avenues of bilateral cooperation.
Addressing business community here at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), he said both countries should develop close links between their small medium enterprises (SMEs) to further strengthen their economies as SMEs were a driving force for Malaysia's economic development.
He said that Pakistan and Malaysia had good potential to cooperate in Halal industry, oil and gas sectors, Islamic financing, healthcare and many other sectors.
The two countries, he said, were also stakeholders in China's One Belt One Road project and it was a good opportunity for the them to work together to capitalize on the mega project for improving their economies.
Badawi said that Pakistan could get better access to ASEAN region through Malaysia while the latter could get easy access to South Asian market through the former.
Thus close cooperation would be mutually beneficial for both countries, he added.
He said that Malaysia's total trade was around $400 billion, but its trade with Pakistan was not satisfactory. They should develop strong business linkages between their private sectors to improve two-way trade volume, he added.
Speaking at the occasion, ICCI President Khalid Iqbal Malik said that Pakistan and Malaysia had signed a free trade agreement (FTA) in 2007 to boost bilateral trade.
However, the FTA had not produced the desired results so far as Pakistan's exports to Malaysia in 2014 were just $ 233 million against $1.2 billion imports.
He said the main reason for low trade volume was that both countries were doing trade in limited items. Pakistan's main exports to Malaysia were rice, maize, cotton, textiles and vegetables against imports of palm oil, fibre board, rubber and electrical & electronic equipment.
He stressed that both countries should focus on diversification of trade to achieve better results.
He said many Pakistani products including non-basmati rice, wheat, mangoes, halal food, seafood, meat products, cutlery and sports goods, spices, handicrafts, light engineering goods, hospital and surgical equipment, pharmaceutical and gems and jewelry could find good market in Malaysia and it should focus on importing these products from Pakistan.
He said Malaysia had great scope to invest in Pakistan's various sectors, including palm oil cultivation and refining, construction of low cost housing schemes and highways, livestock & dairy, energy, education, transportation, IT, shipbreaking, food processing, sports goods and Halal industry. He urged that more Malaysian investors should visit Pakistan to explore investment and joint ventures in CPEC projects and other areas of interest.
ICCI Senior Vice President Khalid Malik welcomed the visiting guests while Vice President Tahir Ayub, Tariq Sadiq, Zafar Bakhtawari, Zahid Maqbool and others also spoke at the occasion.