HYDERABAD: The High Commissioner of South Africa to Pakistan, Mpendulo Kumalo, has said that South Africa is focusing on enhancing economic relation with Pakistan as much scope for improving economic relationship exists between the two countries.
The government of South Africa wants to increase exports from South Africa to Pakistan and to promote South Africa as a safe environment for investment from Pakistan. “The ultimate goal is to increase the level of total bilateral trade between the two friendly countries”, he added while speaking at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday.
Honorary Consul General of South Africa in Karachi, Ghulam Ali Muhammad, Deputy Head of Mission, South African High Commission, Mr. Sarel van Zyl, President KCCI Abdullah Zaki, Senior Vice President KCCI, Muffasar A. Malik, Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Idrees, Chairman Diplomatic Affairs Sub-Committee KCCI, Abdul Jabbar Dalal, Former President KCCI, Majyd Aziz and other Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.
South African High Commissioner said that many South African investors are aware of the investment opportunities and want to do business in Pakistan but the negative stories in media on most of the occasions scare away South African investors.
He informed that total trade between Pakistan and South Africa amounted to $510 million in 2012. South Africa exports mainly iron, steel, aluminium, and coal to Pakistan while it imports cotton, yarn, textile and leather goods from Pakistan. However, there are many other sectors that could be targeted for South African export to Pakistan.
He was of the view that Pakistan can certainly benefit from the South African expertise in exploration and mining of coal fields as Pakistan holds huge coal resources in Sindh. In this regard, he extended full support to any development project pertaining to mining of coal fields in Pakistan.
The South African High Commissioner further pointed out that a number of Pakistani companies have already successfully invested in various parts of South Africa and they are in the process of discussing several new investment opportunities. South Africa is rich in mineral and other natural resources and investors are encouraged to set up their manufacturing plants in South Africa. “We offer many attractive incentives to investors and more importantly, South Africa is regarded as a gateway into Africa”, he added.
He said that role of various Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Pakistan is important in attaining the objectives of improving the total bilateral trade and to increase investment opportunities.
Earlier while welcoming the High Commissioner, President KCCI Abdullah Zaki pointed out that relations between Pakistan and South Africa have remained cordial and amicable since a long time.
Abdullah pointed out that goods worth $257.39 million were exported by Pakistan to South Africa whereas import of goods from South Africa stood at $184.91 million in fiscal year 2013, indicating trade surplus of $72.48 million for Pakistan. The goods exported by Pakistan to South Africa includes cement, art silk & synthetic textile, towels, apparel, plastic materials, leather, gloves, chemicals, basmati rice etc.
He noted that South Africa requires experts in science and mathematics fields and has offered to go for joint ventures to tap the potential of mining sector of Pakistan.
He was of the view that a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between South Africa and Pakistan can be enacted to provide preferential trade access to enhance bilateral trade. There exist significant potential of exporting foodstuff, fruits, fish, and textile made ups from Pakistan to South Africa.
Abdullah also stressed the need for enhancing trade talks, exhibitions and other trade strategies for promotion of bilateral trade between the two countries. He also requested the High Commissioner to promote KCCI’s My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony Exhibition scheduled to be organized from June 20th to June 21st at Karachi Expo Centre which will provide a perfect platform to South African businessmen to promote their products and services in Pakistan.