Saudi envoy for projecting positive image of Pakistan

The Express Tribune

Riyadh keen to boost trade, investment cooperation with Islamabad

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia wants to further deepen and strengthen trade ties with Pakistan as both countries have great scope to promote trade in many areas, said Saudi Arabian Ambassador Nawaf Saeed Al-Malkiy.

Talking to the business community during his visit to the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), he said that Saudi Arabia intended to further expand its commercial and investment cooperation with Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan had a lot of potential for economic growth, which should be highlighted more effectively to attract foreign investors. He urged the media to focus on projecting positive developments in Pakistan to change the wrong perception about the country.

He stressed that misperception about Pakistan around the world needed to be changed to unlock its real economic potential. He assured businessmen that he would continue to work for further promoting trade cooperation between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Sardar Yasir Ilyas Khan said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed very cordial relations but bilateral trade of around $3.5 billion was much below the real potential.

He called for making strenuous efforts by both sides to improve the situation, adding that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were doing trade in limited items and they should focus on diversification of trade to achieve better results.

The ICCI president pointed out that many high-quality and cost-effective Pakistani products including halal food products, pharmaceuticals, textiles, surgical instruments, rice, fruits, dairy products, sportswear, leather products, financial services, insurance and IT services, and entertainment products could  find a good market in Saudi Arabia. “Riyadh should focus on importing these products from Pakistan,” he said.

Khan emphasised that both countries should focus on strengthening B2B contacts, exchange of trade delegations and participation in trade fairs on a reciprocal basis to improve the trade volume.

He said that Pakistan was establishing many Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and investors of Saudi Arabia should explore joint venture and investment opportunities in the zones.

He highlighted that Pakistan was working on one-window facility for investors, which would facilitate Saudi investors intending to invest in Pakistan.

ICCI would try to take a delegation to Saudi Arabia to meet with trade bodies in order to explore mutual business collaboration, he said. Similarly, he added, the ICCI would like to host a trade delegation from Saudi Arabia and would help them in exploring joint venture and investment avenues in Pakistan’s SEZs.