LAHORE: With an objective to increase bilateral trade and investment, the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is planning to establish British Business Centers in all the major cities of Pakistan and the first such center would be setup in Karachi.
This was stated by British Deputy High Commissioner John Tucknott while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari highlighted the available investment opportunities in Pakistan while Senior Vice President Mian Tariq Misbah and Vice President Kashif Anwar also spoke on the occasion.
The British Deputy High Commissioner said that the British Business Centers would provide expert trade advice and practical support to the companies who want to grow their business overseas.
“Through a range of unique services, these Business Centers would help businessmen to trade successfully in foreign markets and become familiar with overseas business practices.”
John Tucknott said that the UKTI was working with all the Chambers in Pakistan, Government institutions and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) to increase bilateral trade between the two countries.
He said that a number of large British companies were already working with the government of Pakistan in the energy sector and the shortage of energy was the most burning issue and the UK has expertise in quite a few energy related sectors.
“These are the most exciting times for UK-Pakistan commercial ties to grow as synergies exist in the private sectors of the two countries.”
He said that the UKTI was closely working with UK companies to make them more export minded.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that it was a positive sign that volume of total bilateral trade had touched the mark of US$2 billion. The trade analysis of last three years had been encouraging as it is growing in favour of Pakistan.
He said that the inflow of FDI from UK is around USD 155 million till April 2014. Only Switzerland, USA and Hong Kong have greater inflow than UK with figures like USD 257 million, USD 241 million and USD 200 million respectively.
He said that the LCCI believed that UK companies would increase the existing level of FDI in coming months.
The LCCI President said that there were a number of sectors in Pakistan which offer a lot of opportunities to UK investors.
Engineer Sohail Lashari said that Pakistan badly needed assistance both in the form of finance and technology in alternate energy solutions like solar energy, wind energy, coal based energy and new projects of hydel generation.
He said that the UK was known to have excellent expertise in agriculture sciences. The sub-fields like crop genetics, sustainable pest and disease management, seed and plant sciences, composts & synthetic soils etc., are some of the highlights of its advancement.
“We do need technical help and guidance from UK to support our agriculture sector and also develop much required agriculture-industry linkage.”
The LCCI President said that Pakistan has great potential in Mines and Minerals development, as important minerals found in Pakistan are iron ores, limestone, chromite, silver, gold, gems stones, marble, copper and graphite therefore British investors were welcome to explore the untapped potential of these sector which would surely result in win-win situation for all.
Engineer sohail Lashari said that the UK has gone one step ahead from Industrial Textiles through mastering in Technical Textiles which describes the growing variety of products and manufacturing techniques for technical properties and performance.
He said that the UKTI would be highly appreciated on its assistance for the transfer of knowledge and technology to Pakistan for textiles sector which directly and indirectly engages almost two third of country’s resources.
He said that the other sectors include Medical Technologies with special focus on Industrial Biotechnology and Science Parks. Moreover, the UK has been successfully implementing very advanced systems in Education and Banking sectors, therefore, joint ventures can be a good option to develop these sectors on modern lines in Pakistan.
While apprising the diplomat about the LCCI Mediation Center, Engineer Sohail Lashari the Center established with active collaboration with International Finance Corporation in August 2012 has more than 40 accredited mediators who help the local, national and international businessmen for out of the court settlement.
So far the Mediation Center has amicably resolved almost 8 business disputes worth thousands of dollars which mostly involved international companies.