(Karachi P.R. 11th March, 2017) “Key Reforms and a transparent & business friendly regime in Pakistan such as cheap and hardworking labor force, competitive tax & tariff structure, no restriction on holding 100% equity, no bar on repatriation of capital or dividend, low cost of doing business have shaped up Pakistan for a high-paced economic activity and as such offers a lot of opportunities to foreign investors”.
This was stated by Aamer Ata Bajwa, Acting President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers OF Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) in his welcome address while inaugurating the 3rd Session of Pak-Belarus Joint Business Council (JBC) meeting which was attended by a high profile Belarus Trade Delegation headed by Mr. Vataly Vovk, Minister of Industry of the Republic of Belarus; Mr. Inam, Secretary Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) , Members of Joint Business Councils of both the countries and Member of Trade bodies.
Acting President of FPCCI underscored the need to explore the unexploited business avenues/opportunities and expand bilateral trade between both the friendly countries, which at present are at minuscule level and does not reflect actual potential of trade. He added that this is evident from the existing volume of trade- US$ 47 million- of both the countries, out of which Pakistan’s exports to Belarus was US$ 7 million only as against Belarus exports of US$ 40 million, besides signing of 19 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) between both the countries in the recent past with the view to strengthen mutual multifaceted ties particularly in the areas of trade, commerce, education, culture etc.
The FPCCI Acting Chief attributed the reason for low level of trade to the confinement of trade in few traditional products, from both the sides. He proposed that the trade volume can be increased by including the competitive products such as fertilizers, agri-auto, chemicals etc from Belarus while Pakistan is a leading exporter of agro-based industrial products such as Textiles, Leathers and leather goods, surgical instruments, sports goods, marble & onyx etc
Mr. Bajwa further informed that MoU for the establishment of the Joint Business Council (JBC) was signed on 27th May 2015, and its first meeting was held in the month of Aug, 2015, during the visit of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan to Belarus.
Acting President emphasized the need of holding single country exhibitions and exchange of trade delegations between both the friendly states, which will ultimately increase the bi-lateral trade. He particularly mentioned that Belarus is a gateway to the huge market of Russia and Central Asian States and there is no banking problem since Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan have entered into Custom Union Agreement and as such provide a unique opportunity for Pakistani exporters to get free access to these countries.
Mr. Vataly Vovk, Minister of Industry of the Republic of Belarus emphasized the need to enhance cooperation between Belarus and Pakistan and appreciated the role of FPCCI and TDAP for enhancing trade ties to optimum level.
Andrey Ermolovich , Ambassador Extra Ordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Pakistan said that the cordial relations between both the countries provide good joint venture opportunities to the private sector of both the countries.
The Joint Business Council meeting was also attended by Mr. Ishtiaq Baig & Ms. Masooma Sibtain, Vice Presidents and Brig. Tariq Khalil, Co-Chairman, Pak-Belarus Business Council of FPCCI and Mr. Maher Alam Khan, Secretary General (Act) others prominent businessmen. At the conclusion of the JBC, B2B meetings were held between Pakistani and Belarusian businessmen.
Later on Mr. Aliaksandr Yakouchyts, Deputy Minister & Deputy Chairman, Concern Bellegprom Republic of Belarus visited Federation House and made a courtesy call on Mr. Aamer Ata Bajwa, Acting President, FPCCI which was largely attended by the eminent businessmen notable among them were Mr. Ishtiaq Baig, Ms. Masooma Sibtain, FPCCI Vice President and Senator Abdul Haseeb Khan, Sheikh Shakil Ahmad Dhingar & Mr. Nasiruddin Sheikh also attended.
(Maher Alam Khan)
Acting Secretary General