ISLAMABAD: Malaysia is keen to enhance bilateral trade with Pakistan as both countries have the potential to trade many items, said Malaysian High Commissioner in Pakistan Ikram bin Muhammad Ibrahim.
Speaking to business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Ibrahim said Malaysia and Pakistan had been doing business for over half a century, but lack of exchange between their private sectors had held them back from realising the actual trade potential.
The Malaysian envoy urged Pakistan businessmen to focus on producing high-quality components for global brands. Those products, he said, had great demand in the international market and would help boost exports. For the purpose, he also suggested that Pakistani companies should improve branding of their products.
He said the interest of other countries in Pakistan was also a good sign for foreign investors. Talking about the upcoming visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to Pakistan, the envoy said the trip would bring good prospects for Pakistan, especially in the automobile sector.
Ibrahim said private sectors of both countries should accelerate efforts to take full advantage of the Pak-Malaysia free trade agreement (FTA) signed in 2008. “Malaysia is one of the largest investors in Pakistan and is more interested in Pakistan’s services sector including telecommunication, insurance and tourism.”
The envoy suggested that in order to attract more foreign direct investment, Pakistan should focus on bringing its informal economy into the formal sector, which would give more confidence to foreign investors.
Speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal said bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia was not encouraging and stressed that both countries should facilitate their private sectors in promoting the two-way trade.
He pointed out that many Pakistani products including rice, wheat, mangoes, halal food, seafood, meat products, cutlery and sports goods could find a good market in Malaysia and it should import these products from Pakistan, which would also improve Pakistan’s trade balance with it.
He said Malaysia had levied export duty on crude palm oil at a certain level of prices (at above 2,250 ringgit), which should be revised.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2019.