‘Sector-specific efforts required to boost Pak-Canada trade’

ISLAMABAD: Mutual benefit for Pakistan and Canada through cooperation in energy, fertilisers, education and agricultural fields is possible through a sector-specific efforts, which could jack-up the trade volume between both the countries to around $2 billion in a short span of time.

Canadian Leader of Opposition and head of delegation of Legislative Assembly of Ontario Patrick Brown expressed these views while speaking in a meeting with the All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF).

Patrick Brown pointed out that there were around 350,000 Canadians of Pakistani origin in Ontario and their third and fourth generation were taking their place as productive members of the society in a wide variety of professions, businesses and vocations and this group is also a natural bridge in promoting commerce and trade between the two countries.

He identified several areas including power, fertiliser, education and the agricultural sector for cooperation. With consistent efforts these areas could attract investments and technical know-how from Canada to Pakistan, while the Canadian business could benefit significantly from a large, and growing, middle class consumers of Pakistan.

Among others, the delegation included Canadian Senator Salma Ataullah Jan (of Pakistani origin), Canada Pakistan Business Council (CPBC) President Samir Dossal and Acting High Commissioner Andrew Turner.

On the occasion, APBF and CPBC agreed to enhance trade and investment in Pakistan through joint ventures. Highlighting the importance of cooperation, APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi observed that there were a number of sectors that had a huge potential for cooperation, naming livestock and agriculture as the two areas where cooperation could benefit both the countries.

APBF president said that the visit of the Canadian delegation would help explore business opportunities where people from both the countries could start business ventures jointly. He said that Pakistan is not only self sufficient in the food sector but also has the capacity to supply processed food. He said that APBF and the CPBC cooperation would be a landmark in developing trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Canada.

He said, “It will have an effect of direct investment on project-to-project basis and to enhance market access for Pakistani goods to the Canadian market.”

Ibrahim Qureshi said that the target could only be achieved by undertaking frequent activities like exchange of business delegations, organising exhibitions, seminars and workshops. He added that the main sectors of opportunity for Canadian businessmen and joint ventures included power, energy, agriculture, food-breeding stock, food processing equipment and technology, telecommunication, metals and minerals equipment, services and technology.

CPBC President Samir Dossal said that Canada pursued a wide range of interests in bilateral relations with Pakistan, including trade and investment, development cooperation, people-to-people links and governance.

Samir Dossal said that bilateral trade statistics of Pakistan and Canada showed both concern and hope as the volume of trade with Canada was minimal in terms of its total trade but there was room for enhancing the current level of trade and relation. He appreciated that Pakistan is a safe country and good business destination for the foreigners as Canadians highly valued their relations with Pakistan and were keen to further strengthen the economic ties with this country.

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