Meeting with S. African HC FPCCI to Facilitate Look Africa Initiatives for Export Promotion
Karachi (PR): Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has apprised that FPCCI, as the apex trade & industry body of Pakistan, will be pushing ahead with and facilitating Look Africa initiatives for the swift exploration of new export markets for the country; which is possible through tapping African & Central Asian states. He was speaking with the South African High Commissioner in Pakistan, H. E. Mr. Mthuthuzeli Madikiza, at the FPCCI Head Office, Karachi.
Discussing numbers, FPCCI Chief expressed his dismay that with a country, which imports a 100 billion dollar worth of products and exports even more than that, our bilateral trade stands at a meager $890 million as per trade statistics of 2022 – and, upon deciphering further, we have a bilateral trade deficit of $488 million. This is particularly appalling for the fact that there is so much in our exportable pool that can be exported to South Africa on a mass-scale, i.e. value-added textiles; leather, surgical & sports goods; rice & other edibles and IT & ITeS services
Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh highlighted the very fact that Pakistan has a very strong diaspora in South Africa comprising of top professionals & businessmen; and, they can become an excellent bridge in forging B2B ties between the two countries. He also stressed upon the need to start barter trade on a wide-scale as both the countries can enhance their bilateral trade to $5 – 10 billion in a short span of 2 – 3 years.
H. E. Mr. Mthuthuzeli Madikiza extended his full support in establishing Pak – South Africa Joint Business Council between the national chambers of the two countries to unleash the true potential of bilateral trade, investments, joint ventures, industrial collaborations, export of workforce and transfer of technology.
H. E. Mr. Mthuthuzeli Madikiza emphasized that South Africa and Pakistan need to look into the bottlenecks in the direct bilateral trade as there are some South African consumer products available in the Pakistani malls; but, they are being branded, packaged and exported through third countries. Prices of South African consumer products can be considerably brought down and their demand increased as the result; if they are directly imported from the source country, he added.
Mr. Shaukat Omerson, VP FPCCI, highlighted that Pakistani restaurants are doing great business in South Africa as Pakistani cuisine is much liked by the large Pakistani & Indian diasporas in South Africa. Travel, tourism, hospitality, cultural exchanges and food businesses have great potential to enhance the economic & commercial linkages between the two countries, he added.
Brig Iftikhar Opel, SI (M), Retd.