Pakistan’s High Commissioner designate to Brunei visits LCCI
LAHORE: Pakistan’s High Commissioner designate to Brunei Darussalam, Major General (R) Farhat Abbas Sani has said that the country is pursuing strong economic diplomacy to explore new markets instead of depending on a few countries for trade.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry during his visit on Monday. LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah presented the address of welcome while Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion.
The High Commissioner appreciated government’s vision of diversification to penetrate into the unexplored and relatively small markets. “It will ensure our economic sovereignty due to sustained and durable policies”, he said and added that he will exploit his experience as Director General Defense Export Promotion Organization (DEPO).
He said that he will visit other chambers to have a clear-vision of Pakistan’s economic strength which could be utilized to enhance exports to Brunei in addition to attracting maximum Foreign Direct Investment from that rich country.
The High Commissioner referred to his previous experience and said that he organized a single country exhibition in Moldova, a small country of Eastern Europe. “This exhibition proved very successful as regular investors from Europe also visited it and made it a total success.”
He said that Southeast Asian countries have their own traditional values. “Rice is their main staple food and we could export it to earn precious foreign exchange.” He said that people of Brunei wear their own traditional dresses which are designed, printed and stitched in other countries excluding Pakistan.
He also appreciated the enhanced exports of Information Technology and said, “Last year Pakistan earned approximately 2 billion dollars and we could also provide this technology to Brunei.”
He also commented on the exchange of students and faculty members in addition to enhancing cooperation in the field of sports and tourism.
He said that he has already spoken to some Pakistani banks to establish their branches in Brunei for the provision of banking services to the importers and exporters. He said that he will convince the foreign investors to invest in the tourism, education, health, real state and nursing sectors of Pakistan.
LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan and Brunei Darussalam are members of OIC and maintain cordial diplomatic relations based on historical affiliation. “However, the bilateral trade figures do not reflect these relation,” he said.
While quoting the mutual trade figures, Tariq said that Pakistan’s exports to Brunei are stagnant at 1.1 million dollars for the last two years (2019 and 2020). Pakistan’s imports from Brunei on the other hand are virtually negligible. Pakistan’s exports to Brunei Darussalam consist of vegetables, basic household articles and tracksuits etc.
The LCCI President said that Brunei Darussalam is a small country and its economy heavily depends on exports of crude oil and natural gas. Out of total exports of Brunei (6.6 billion dollars), the petroleum based products have the share of more than 82%.
He said that more than 40% import requirements of Brunei are fulfilled from the nearby countries like Malaysia, Singapore and China etc. Pakistan is a producer of finest quality of value-added textiles items, surgical instruments, sports goods, leather products, carpets and rice etc.
Mian Tariq Misbah said that over the time, sectors like pharmaceuticals, light engineering, automotive parts, information technology etc. have made remarkable progress in Pakistan. He said that the market of Brunei Darussalam should be explored for these sectors as well to enhance the current low level of exports to Brunei.
The LCCI President hoped that Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam will play an important role in linking Pakistani exporters with the prospectus buyers in Brunei.
He said that there is a lot of scope for Brunei to make investment in Pakistan in sectors like infrastructure, banking, oil & gas and in tourism industry etc. and can also enter into joint ventures with Pakistani counterparts. “The role of your good office will be very important in this connection” he said. “Pakistan has a strong agriculture sector and Brunei can also benefit from our expertise in it.”
The LCCI Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry later presented the vote of thanks.
LCCI Executive Committee Members Dr. Riaz Ahmed, Shahzad Butt, Shahid Nazir, Wasif Yousaf, Sheikh Sajjad Afzal and former Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa were also present.
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