(Karachi P.R. 24th Sep, 2016) Shaikh Khalid Tawab, Acting President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) expressed his serious concern over the untapped market of South America, which is a market of more than 400 million people with average per capita income US$ 12,000. He stated that Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Chile and other countries of region don’t need any introduction in Pakistan if we discussed these under sports, geography, culture and ethnicity but in economic scenario these are untapped market for trade and investment relations. Lack of information, mutual understandings, business interactions and people to people contact between Pakistan and South American countries are the ground of the low economic relations.
He added that Pakistan signed an agreement with a common market of South America (MERCOSUR; a biggest trade bloc of South America) on Trade in July 2006 which initiated the process of negotiation of Preferential Trade Agreement, but there is no information regarding the implementation of this agreement. On the other hand Pakistan is co-member with South American countries in one trade agreement other than WTO; that is Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP) which came into being in 1989 but functionality is not up to the mark.
He indicated that the peoples ethnicity of South American countries are similar to Europe, Spain, Portugal and the US. He further stated that at present the share of this common market of South America is just 0.6 percent in export of Pakistan and 1.6 percent in imports of Pakistan. He urged the government to utilize Pakistani trade missions in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and other countries for exploring the market and opening of display center in embassies for displaying the Pakistani products. Moreover, the Government should send fact-finding missions and formulate trade delegations for exploring these markets as Pakistan didn’t send their delegation in the past, he suggested. He said that Pakistan has huge potential in the traditional exports to these countries like rice, sports goods, Mango, orange, surgical instruments, agro-based products, marble, pharmaceutical, leather and textile products etc and at present Pakistan has not been able to realize full potential of this region despite being enjoyed cordial relations at government and public levels with Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Venezuela etc. He stated that Argentina is the gateway to access the market of South Africa, so we need to expand our relation with Argentina. Moreover, holding of exhibitions and participation in the exhibitions of South American countries can also improve trade relations.
He also highlighted that there is a huge demand of Halal products in South American region. As per the available statistics, Central and South America is a market of US$ 820 million of halal. Due to the scarce supply of Halal products in the world, there is a great opportunity for Pakistan to capture this market as a supplier of Halal certified products.
Maher Alam Khan
Acting Secretary General