Turkish President’s visit to open new vistas of trade promotion: Business Community

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ISLAMABAD: Terming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-day  state visit to Pakistan opening new vistas  for investment bonanza , business community in Pakistan is of the opinion that it will not only help transforming bilateral relations into economic partnership for the mutual benefit of both countries but also give impetus for restoration of peace and  ushering in an era of prosperity in the region.

“We are not geographically neighbors, but the affinity between Turkey and Pakistan is unique, since the close ties between two countries derive its strength from the Muslim brotherly relations between our peoples,” said Vice Chairman SAARC Chamber and Chairman United Business Group Iftikhar Ali Malik in a press release issued here on Wednesday.

He said entrepreneurs as well as policy makers at government level can learn a lot from shared economic visions especially Pakistan needs to evaluate those economic policy envisioned during dynamic leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Clearly, Turkey made exceptional economic progress in the first ten years of Mr Erdogan’s rule than what it was able to achieve in decades adding he said Turkey is now the world’s 18th largest economy. Some of its industry is world class and a leading producer of television sets and commercial trucks.

He said under the framework of ‘Turkey-Pakistan High Level Strategic Cooperation Council’ working groups have been established on industry, trade and investment, banking and finance, culture and tourism and communications-railways, however, he is of the opinion that the potential for economic cooperation and integration between Turkey and Pakistan “has not yet been fully tapped” despite similar economic structures and efforts of entrepreneurs of the two countries.

“We are living in an era of commercial diplomacy where trade is the foremost factor in shaping inter-state relations,” adding he said that international trade was becoming an increasingly important factor in creating jobs, enhancing competitiveness and efficiency of the domestic industry and strengthening development efforts. Iftikhar Malik was of the view that traditional barriers to trade including tariffs and quantitative restrictions are being dismantled with a view to promote cross-border trade.

Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) Chief Executive Mian Kashif Ashfaq said there is a great scope of flourishing furniture trade between Pakistan and Turkey.

Pakistani and Turkish business community have common objectives and goals and both the sides showed their keen interests to work together to synergize the efforts for greater efficiency,” adding he said OPFC has signed agreements with Turkish business organizations like INSIAD and PTBA to arrange business activities in Turkey besides providing international exposure through International Expo’s knowledge sharing of modern furniture and technology.

He said both PFC and INSIAD and PTBA are agreed to extend, arrange and facilitate to the professionals and workers and associates on job training or special training workshops for skill development and capacity building

He said Turkish companies’ investments in Pakistan currently stand at US$ 900 million. There were various areas for Turkish investors – to explore in the vibrant and potential sectors of tourism, furniture, information technology, food processing, agro-based products, dairy development, hotel industry and resorts development.

Mian Kashif Ashfaq said the trade volume with Pakistan exceeded US$ 1 billion in 2011. “Unfortunately, it decreased to US$ 599.6 million in 2015. In 2015, our bilateral trade volume was US$ 599.7 million. Turkish exports to Pakistan were US$ 289 million, while Pakistan exports to Turkey were US$ 310.5 million.

In the first 5 months of 2016, compared to the same period of 2015, Turkish exports to Pakistan increased by 39.6% and became US$ 151 million, whereas Pakistan’s exports to Turkey decreased by 30.2% and realized as US$ 105 million. In this period, our bilateral trade volume reached US$ 256 million.” We need to increase our trade volume which is far below the potential.

In this regard, diversification of our trade is essential. “Holding of trade fairs, exchange of trade delegations, technical assistance and scholarship programmes should be fulfilled to enhance bilateral trade,” he added.—APP