Australia and Pakistan should actively explore new avenues to expand trade and investment as both countries have significant prospects to grow bilateral trade and investment.
This was stated by the Australian Trade Commissioner Mark Morley while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawad Ahmad, Regional Business Development Manager of Australia Imran Saeed Khan, LCCI Executive Committee Members Haris Attiq, Zeshan Sohail Malik, Sheikh Sajjad Afzal and Amir Anwar also spoke on the occasion.
Australian Trade Commissioner said that Australia and Pakistan are good partners and enjoying long-standing cordial relations that have built on strong business-to-business and people-to-people connections.
He said that Australia wants to enhance cooperation with Pakistan in mining technology, education, dairy, livestock and various other sectors.
While calling for frequent exchange of business-related delegations, he said that trade delegations from Pakistan would be warmly welcomed in Australia.
He said that Pakistani goods are best of the best in the world and has a very huge potential in Australian market therefore Pakistani businessmen should focus on joint ventures with their Australian counterparts.
Regional Business Development Manager of Australia Imran Saeed Khan said that both countries should identify new products for trade.
He said that sector-specific delegations from Pakistan should visit Australia to have firsthand knowledge about the trade and investment opportunities.
He said that private sectors of the two countries can step into joint ventures in food, energy, dairy, livestock and various other sectors.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh informed the Australian delegation that the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry has declared 2019-20 as the year of exports.
The LCCI President said it is important to mention that the balance of trade has been in favour of Australia but it is a matter of concern for us that the bilateral trade is following a decreasing trend for the last couple of years.
He said that from 2017 to 2018, the two way trade dipped from 870 million dollars to 636 million dollars. The major reason was significant decrease in imports from Australia that went down to 390 million dollars from 633 million dollars during that period.
However, in the meantime, the exports to Australia inched up from 237 million dollars to 246 million dollars. “It will not be wrong to say that the trade potential between two countries is more than dollar 2 billion for which both public and private sectors have to make joint efforts”, he added.
He said that Australia imports surgical instruments, parts & accessories of tractors, furniture, articles of apparel, jewelry items, other textile made-ups, footwear and pharmaceuticals etc., in sufficient quantities from other countries. There is a great potential for Australia to enhance the import of these commodities from Pakistan and increase the trade volume between two countries. He further stated that Australia has well-developed dairy and livestock sectors and Pakistani counterparts can benefit from Australia for enhancing milk and meat production.
LCCI Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar appreciated the Australian government for extending liberal scholarships to the Pakistani students.
LCCI is of the view that these scholarships should be increased to offer more opportunities to the Pakistani students. He said that Pakistan is emerging globally in IT sector with young and talented pool of IT professionals and this area has great potential for mutual cooperation between the two countries.