Pakistan, Saudi Arabia agree to simplify business visa issuance

Countries pledge to boost economic and trade cooperation in 11th JMC session

APP January 17, 2018
One can well imagine the misery of some 8,000 Pakistani expatriates stranded in Saudi Arabia for the past two months.

ISLAMABAD: The 11th session of the Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) began on Tuesday with a renewed pledge to boost bilateral economic, investment and trade cooperation between the two countries.

High-ranked officials of various ministries of both countries also participated, with an aim to draw a future roadmap to cooperate with each other for economic development.

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Special Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Aitzaz Ahmad said Pakistan offered tremendous opportunities in various sectors of the economy, particularly in tourism which could be exploited for better financial developmental prospects. He expressed hope that the session would provide a ‘way-forward’ agenda to promote trade and investment.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary for Foreign Trade Saudi Arabia Abdul Rehman bin Ahmad Al-Harbi said that Riyadh provided great investment opportunities, particularly in the infrastructure field. He was of the view that sessions like JMC should conclude with a tangible outcome to make this bilateral cooperation fruitful for both countries.

During the session, both sides agreed to simplify the procedure of business visa issuance in both countries besides rationalising the visa fee on reciprocal basis. They also agreed on activation of the Saudi-Pak Business Council to promote trade and investment on fast-track basis, while Pak-Saudi bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) also came under consideration.

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The two sides agreed to introduce products through exhibitions in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, besides agreeing to identify and remove the obstacles that hinder smooth flow.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2018.

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