LAHORE: The British High Commission’s Deputy Director for Trade Olivia Campbell, calling for huge potential to enhance bilateral trade and cooperation in education, cultural and several other sectors, has said that the UK gives utmost importance to its relations with Pakistan.
In a meeting with All Pakistan Business Forum President Syed Maaz Mahmood along with Senior Trade Policy Advisor Rehan Shahid both sides discussed several opportunities to increase two-way trade in various sectors, especially telecommunication, IT, agriculture, pharma, health and higher education.
Campbell pointed out that Pakistan is a huge emerging market and British companies are ready to deepen trade and economic ties with their Pakistani counterparts, as a large number of UK companies have already been operating in Pakistan, which is the ample proof that the UK recognizes Pakistan as a potential market.
APBF President Maaz Mahmood, on this occasion, welcomed the UK trade office initiatives to collaborate with business community of Pakistan and assured of its full support. Both sides agreed on close interaction of APBF and UK trade office in Pakistan in future to provide full support in this regard.
The APBF President, on behalf of the Pakistan trade and industry, reiterated his resolve to further expand the areas of cooperation and increase economic ties with the United Kingdom. He said that reform process is bearing fruit, as Pakistan’s economy is on the path to sustainable growth, and after the successful implementation of IMF’s program the government would overcome its recurring balance of payment problem.
He observed that the CPEC has entered its second phase and its development would be led by the private sector while Special Economic Zones could provide attractive incentives, state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities, transforming Pakistan in to a lucrative market for investors.
“We request the British High Commission to urge its investors to fully exploit this opportunity in Pakistan”, he added.
Quoting the figures, he stated that total bilateral trade between two countries reach $2.65 billion during FY21, reflecting an increase of 25% while Pakistan exports to the United Kingdom posts 33% growth to reach $2.025 billion in 2020-21, consisting of textile and leather-related products.
He observed that the UK has emerged Pakistan’s third largest export destination, second largest source of foreign direct investment and third largest source of remittances after Saudi Arabia and UAE, while top export products to the UK in FY21 were home textile, which grew 42% to $648 million, followed by an increase of 57% in apparel and knitted clothing to $625 million.
He pointed out that the UK is also Pakistan’s 15th largest source of imports and major imports from the UK include iron and steel, machinery, electronic equipment.
“We appreciates UK’s Export Finance limit for Pakistan increases to £1.5 billion, while nearly 200 British companies already successfully operating in Pakistan, it is clear that UK-Pak trade is an excellent example of UK-Pak friendship. APBF appreciates the current level of British engagements in Pakistan, and affirms the resolve to improve the bilateral business and investment relations to new heights,” he said.