LAHORE: The Member Australian Legislative Council (Senate), Shaoquette Mosalmane, has said that Australian government and the private sector value high its relations with Pakistan and are keen to further strengthen economic relations with Pakistan, an important country of the region.
Senator Shaoquette Mosalmane, who was heading a strong Australian delegation, was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Monday. LCCI Senior Vice President formally welcomed the Parliamentary delegation while Vice President Kashif Anwar, former Senior Vice President Abdul Basit, Awais Saeed Piracha, Dr Shahid Raza also spoke on the occasion.
Other members of the Australian delegation included Senator Amanda Fazio, Sadaqat Siddiq and Munir Muhammad.
The Senator said the education, agriculture, livestock, information technology and health are the key sectors where Pakistani businessmen can take advantage of Australian technological advancements to play their role for economic turnaround of the country.
Senator Shaoquette said that Pakistan could avail Australian expertise in vocational training as Australian Vocational Training Modules are best of the best in the world. He also stressed the need for frequent exchange of business-related delegations so that both the sides could have first-hand knowledge of the available opportunities. He said that Pakistani goods had a very huge potential in Australian market.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Tariq Misbah said that bilateral exchange of parliamentary delegations between Pakistan and Australia would definitely result in expansion of trade, economic and cultural relations as it allows the two countries to understand each other’s needs besides allowing the delegates to interact directly with their counterparts and other stakeholders.
While stressing the need for stronger bilateral trade relations between the two countries, the LCCI Senior President said that that the two-way trade was heavily in favour of Australia. Pakistan’s exports to Australia touched its peak in 2011 by reaching $167 million whereas we imported goods from Australia worth $437 million in the same period of time. These figures do not match with the actual trade potential of two countries. Both the countries can take it to USD 1 billion mark with some concerted efforts made both at public and private levels.
He said that with extensive natural resources, including oil and natural gas reserves, the fourth-largest coal reserves in the world and potential for hydropower, Pakistan offers marvellous opportunities to Australian businessmen.
He said that prospects exist for growth in trade and investment particularly in the field of agribusiness, education, mining for oil and gas exploration, IT & Communications and development of processed foods etc. Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan was an agro-based economy but unfortunately, most of excessive agriculture produce wasted due lack of post harvest technology. He said that Pakistan was striving to strengthen its agro-based and dairy industry.
He said that in this regard, the professional expertise of Australian agro-based industrial sector could be very helpful. He said that there is a vast scope of investment in horticulture, cattle and sheep breeding, processing, canning, packing, and preservation of fresh fruits and vegetables. The LCCI Senior Vice President said that the investment opportunities for Australian investors were reflected in the fact that Pakistan is a very huge market having highly skilled and disciplined labour force. There is a large corps of professional managers, engineers, computer scientists and bankers.
He said that business houses like LCCI and the different Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Australia could also play a vital role to enhance the trade ties between the two countries. Trade fairs, single country exhibitions as well as exclusive “country weeks” could be arranged on reciprocal basis to achieve this goal. The major Australian exports to Pakistan are fertilizers, mineral fuels, oil seed, fruit and vegetables, iron and steel, paper and paper board while major exports to Australia include textiles, cereals, cotton, leather goods, carpets, sports goods, he added.