Canada keen on strengthening bilateral trade with Pakistan
LAHORE: Pakistan is a safe country and good business destination for the foreigners and Canada highly values its relations with Pakistan and is keen on further strengthening its economic ties with the country, which is an important destination of the region.
These views were expressed by Leader of Opposition and head of the delegation of Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada Patrick Brown while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Tuesday.
LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad, Vice President Nasir Saeed, Senator Salma Ataullahjan, Canada Pakistan Business Council President Samir Dossal, Acting High Commissioner Andrew Turner and All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Ibrahim Qureshi were present on this occasion.
Patrick Brown said that Pakistan has a huge potential particularly for the Canadian businessmen. He stressed the need for close contacts between the businessmen through the use of modern technology in order to develop deep and lasting relations and networks for sharing each other’s experiences.
The Canadian leader said that they would play their role for increasing bilateral trade between the two countries, adding that Pakistani businessmen should initiate joint ventures with their Canadian counterparts.
He spoke highly about Pakistan and said that he would share his experience of Pakistan with fellow parliamentarians. He said that the existing volume of bilateral trade has no match with the potential in two countries, adding that Canada has expertise in green technology that could be of great benefit to Pakistan. “I would utilise all resources to highlight the soft image of Pakistan,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Sheikh Muhammad Arshad said the visit of the Canadian delegation would help explore such business opportunities where people from both the countries could jointly start business ventures.
He said that Pakistan is not only self sufficient in food sector but also has the capacity to supply processed food. “Through big food chains, we can significantly increase its demand.”
The LCCI president said that development work of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is being carried out at good pace whose total worth is almost $46 billion. It is a big opportunity with regard to economic future of Pakistan and we urge the Canadian investors to also participate in it, he added.
He said that Pakistan has yet to overcome energy crisis, asking the Canadian leader to play a role in encouraging relevant Canadian companies to initiate power projects in Pakistan capable of generating electricity through hydel, thermal, solar, bio and alternate resources.
He said that in recent years, Pakistan has gained further political stability and “we hope that we will soon start reaping the fruits of attaining political maturity”.
The LCCI president said the trade figures between Canada and Pakistan in 2013 was $356 million, which surged to $582 million in 2014. “The main reason of that increase was substantial rise in imports from Canada that went up from $122 million to $358 million. In contrast to that our exports to Canada that fell from $234 million to $224 million in the same period of time.
LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed said that given the present scenario of trade, we wish that the balance of trade be in favour of Pakistan and our products could have easy access to the markets of Ontario in particular and of Canada in general.
Nasir Saeed said that the economic condition of Ontario is much stronger as compared to other provinces of Canada, adding that its sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, mining and service are fairly developed. “I will propose that there should be exchange of delegations comprising experts from these sectors so that knowledge sharing and transfer of technology could become possible. It is needless to mention that the role of Canadian High Commission and Honorary Consul of Canada in this regard,” he added.