KARACHI: The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) is striving hard to convince its registered members besides other industrial units and exporters to enhance exports of traditional and non-traditional products.
This will increase amount of foreign exchange earnings besides we could compete with our neighbouring countries in well manner, said A Abdullah Zaki, Chairman KCCI.
KCCI enjoys singular distinction of being the premier chamber of Pakistan, representing the mainstream of economic activities by virtue of its location in the industrial and commercial hub of the country.
Regarding the major problem in connection with Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Trade (PABT) Zaki said despite having better border trade with Afghanistan business community and still growing, it is unprecedented imported goods meant for Afghanistan especially including shampoo, razor blades, tyres, perfumery and similar items rebound back into Pakistan’s territory. This is unlawful and the responsibility of Customs to check goods going Afghanistan through border. “The volume and quantity of goods that return remains unchanged after coming back inside Pakistan. This should be checked properly. Interestingly majority of these goods imported for Afghanistan hardly in use of Afghan people as there tradition does not allow to shave beards, use shampoo and perfumery. This practice is hurting the level of tax income of our government besides belittles competitive level of our similar products in the open market. Local traders face losses as these goods are sold on lesser prices.
Our trade with Afghanistan stands around $2 billion as our rice, textile made ups, consumer goods and other items of daily use enter into the Afghan territory. We continue keep our two side-trade talks in order to resolve the dispute if any on price or other matters.
About accords and their progress made with major business and trade people in USA and other countries, he said Houston Karachi Sister City Association (HKSCA) has been striving hard to promote trade and commerce between the two countries besides working in the areas of healthcare, education and culture.
A seven-member delegation of KCCI visited City Hall and the Port of Houston Authority in Houston. Pakistan has top 1 to 10 rating in 13 various products, like textile goods, milk, citrus fruits, and so on and large reserves of copper, gold, and coal, making Pakistan ideal location for foreign investment. KCCI invites investors to come and spend in various fields and in people of Pakistan besides held talks with representatives of International Trade and Development Council (MITDC), South Asia Division.
In reciprocity, we want to have access to American markets. There are presently certain American and international rules and regulations that are kind of discriminatory and based on quotas, where Pakistan is getting less share of trade that we deserve, being resourceful with large consumer market.
Although MITDC was a local body, we still would like support of its membership and people of Houston, in taking this message to decision makers after the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), USA should also sign Free Trade Agreement (FTA), as that would pave way for very nice Pakistani goods to enter USA market and USA goods reaching not only Pakistan, but from Pakistan to South and Central Asia.
He said rated as a global city with immigrant Americans from almost one hundred countries, Houston’s economy has a broad industrial base in energy, manufacturing, healthcare services at the largest medical centre of the world, aeronautics and transportation.
With highly skilled work labour, cheap real estate and no State Income Tax, Houston provides excellent opportunities for investors, businesses and traders.
President of HKSCA Muhammad Saeed Sheikh always welcomed KCCI trade teams. Port of Houston Authority is the busiest port in the United States in terms of foreign tonnage, second busiest in the United States in terms of overall tonnage and thirteenth busiest in the world.
KCCI is impressed by the amount of tonnage this port could carry, especially being a channel and not truly sea. KCCI shows immense interest in the potential of investing in warehousing near the port to enhance export and import activities.
Pakistan is gateway to three important economic blocks of countries, with Karachi providing access to traders to bring the goods into Pakistan.
The merchandise sold or re-exported to these three blocks of countries, namely Iran-Turkey, eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries and the break-up states of the former Soviet Union.
Commercial Officer of US Embassy in Islamabad always said US Embassy in Islamabad was striving hard to foster trade ties between the United States and Pakistan.
We remain focused on building strong business linkages between the business communities of both countries.
But there were reportedly delays in getting USA business visas by Pakistani traders and exporters, which amounts lessen the trade opportunities in time.
US currently the largest trade partner of Pakistan and the balance of trade is in favour of Pakistan.
Many US companies were successfully doing business in Pakistan as they have invested in a variety of sectors of Pakistan’s economy.
Keeping in view Pakistan was the 4th largest country in the world in terms of English speaking population, which is a fascinating statistical figure and the 6th largest country in terms of population, the business community of United States can certainly benefit by investing or undertaking joint ventures in Pakistan.
KCCI was playing an active role in strengthening the foundation of business community to effectively meet the challenges of today and tomorrow and to promote trade and industry in Karachi and elsewhere, maintaining its distinction of 8th largest chamber of the world and leading Chamber in Pakistan and the sub-continent.
By increasing trade and economic activities between two business partners Pakistan could prosper on a sustainable basis.
Urgent out of the box solutions were needed for duty free imports of Pakistani textile products, particularly garments, towels, bedsheets and other textile made-ups without waiting or completing the process of FTA/BIT as duty free imports have been allowed to various countries by USA.
Frequent exchange of trade delegations, individual visits of businessmen and officials, holding of single-country exhibitions to each country, combined with joint ventures and better travelling facilities, as these initiatives would lead to rapid expansion in bilateral trade as well.
Idea of the MoU is to notify and assist each party in trade exhibitions, fairs, and similar events, to promote the products of all parties in both Houston and Karachi, promote trade and industrial joint-ventures between businesses of both the cities, organise meetings and seminars in both the cities to inform business people about potential investments and advantageous trade opportunities and arrange meaningful visits of investment experts for the purpose of conducting surveys on each party’s existing investment opportunities.
There is a dire need to shape Port Qasim into a free trade and green zone that would promote shipping and trading activities manifold. In this regard KCCI and HKSCA are engaged to finalise a project.
Better bilateral trade relations between Karachi and Houston are in Pakistan as well as in the interest of USA.
In education sector, under Youth Exchange Programme, two educational institutions of Karachi have been accommodated for the betterment of educational activities.
In health sector collaboration has been finalised to include Dow University of Health Sciences under the telemetry programme.
In order to promote bilateral trade between Houston and Karachi, HKSCA is making all-out efforts.
Local Houston Pakistani-American Business persons through the coordination of the Pakistan-American Chamber of Commerce USA were working on several projects including promotion of trade and opening fresh avenues of investment in Pakistan.
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