Lifestyle exhibition: Pakistani companies look for foothold in India

Published: April 13, 2012
Pakistan has brought more than 650 business people from textile giants to furniture manufacturers to the Indian capital for the trade show. PHOTO: REUTERS

Pakistan has brought more than 650 business people from textile giants to furniture manufacturers to the Indian capital for the trade show. PHOTO: REUTERS


Showcasing gourmet chefs and lawn, Pakistan unveiled a trade fair on Thursday in New Delhi as commercial ties between the traditional foes begin slowly to bloom.

However, long-standing Pakistani frustration about India’s ‘non-tariff barriers’ also surfaced, particularly the achingly slow clearances for goods to be shipped across the border. Liberalising heavily restricted trade and investment flows has become a driver of peace efforts between the neighbours.

Musicians clad in orange turbans and green scarves drummed and danced as Indian and Pakistani trade delegates arrived to open the four-day Lifestyle Exhibition.

“If the enemies of the world war can invest in each other’s countries and trade, it is very much possible for Pakistan and India too,” Sharma told The Express Tribune.

He said that the two countries could use the advantage of having similar traditions and not needing an interpreter to enhance trade.

Pakistani commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim could not attend the inauguration ceremony due to engagements back home, however, his arrival is expected today (Friday).

The minister is expected to formally inaugurate the Atari terminal, a newly built check post, for barter trade between the two countries.

The fair is a similar gesture to the India exhibition held in Lahore earlier this year.

Pakistan has brought more than 650 business people from textile giants to furniture manufacturers to the Indian capital for the trade show as commercial relations improve between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

Among the expected visitors are tycoon Mian Mansha, listed by Forbes magazine as Pakistan’s first billionaire, as well as Pakistani singers and film stars.

“Normal duties in the world are 5 to 10 percent on textiles. In India they are 28 percent. Plus there are non-tariff barriers which are really ridiculous,” said Bashir H. Ali Mohommad, the chairman of Karachi-based textile house Gul Ahmed.

Less than one per cent of India’s merchandise exports are sold to Pakistan, in terms of dollar value, but in September the two sides pledged to double bilateral trade within three years to about $6 billion.

Pakistan expects its neighbour to reciprocate by liberalising its visa regime for Pakistanis, as well as by slashing the bureaucratic red tape that strangles the sale of products from textiles to cement.

“The thing is that Pakistani businessmen are under a very strong impression that they will not get a level playing field in India,” said Pakistan’s Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood.

Indian restrictions on the movement of Pakistani nationals mean that, for example, business leaders coming to the Indian capital New Delhi would first need to ask for permission to cross into the neighbouring business hub Gurgaon, he said.

In “such a kind of atmosphere where they have to report to the police station in the evening like a criminal, who can trade?” he said.

The Indian Federation of Chambers of Commerce hosted a dinner in honour of the Pakistani delegation which also facilitated 150 business-to-business meetings.

This week, businesses are also hoping to strike a clutch of deals including one on Indian machinery to extract rice bran oil and another for India to export tea to Pakistan. For years, Kenya has been Pakistan’s main supplier of tea.

Lahore-based company Sefam is keen to roll out its popular brand Bareeze in India. “We want to be here like all other international brands. We are scouting for franchise partners who will help us establish the brand in the Indian market,” Sefam International Business Head Zain Aziz told Indian newspaper Business Line.

There was no option left for other than strengthening trade and economic ties, said Sharma. The two countries are determined to provide a bright future to the upcoming generations through mutual trade and assisting each other in economic growth, added Sharma.


Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Pinto
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:06AM

    No body’s going to buy this crapi product


  • Shabbir Kazmi
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:52AM

    Kashif you have a marvelous report. Hope it will open up eyes and also force hawks to revisit their policy.


  • Shafaq
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:57AM

    Best of Luck to all Pakistani Exporters!


  • Ayesha
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:24AM

    According to recent polls, 92 % of Indians said they ‘disliked’ Pakistan. Hard to imagine that they will buy anything with the Made in Pakistan logo.Recommend

    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:05PM

    Maybe you are right, Pinto. In time people like you will become a microbe, a minority, to be eliminated finally. People do not become famed, have a brand recognized, become millionaires and own 100s of textile mills buy producing and selling crap. Maybe you, my friend Pinto are in a load of crap and your mind and vision are blocked due to it.


  • ramanan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:28PM

    One more attack or blast, it will be called off.


  • Syed
    Apr 13, 2012 - 12:43PM


    So you speak for the entire India?


    Online polls don’t mean anything. Even if the poll is true the remaining 8% is a huge market.


  • Shabbir Kazmi
    Apr 13, 2012 - 1:12PM

    Ayesha. a large percentage Pakistani (especially hawks) say they hate India but buy made in India products, watch Indian movies and drama. This is called official jhoot and duality of character


    Apr 13, 2012 - 2:19PM

    Dear Ayesha, I have seen and personally witnessed the opposite and what you state is not correct. Your statistical number of 92% is actually a farce. Indians may say something but what they do is exactly the opposite. Most of the boutiqes owned and run by Indians in overseas market are loaded with Pakistani brand named designer clothes and sold to their clientale. So, lets flood their market with Pakistani lawn textiles, branded designer suits, and sit back and enjoy the show seeing the revolution unfold.


  • Hassan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 2:29PM

    Best of luck to all the exhibitors from PK ….


  • Ali
    Apr 13, 2012 - 3:21PM


    We don’t particulalry like Indians but when there are cheaper good from across the border you will buy it as it will save you money. Same is true vice versa. Its amazing how money changes people’s minds!


  • Swati
    Apr 13, 2012 - 4:19PM

    So now Indian government is offering official channels for the terrorists to come and bomb our country? Congress has certainly lost its mind. NEVER trust your enemy, don’t do it India


  • Ozymandias
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:22PM

    You only make peace with your enemies. That’s why it’s called making peace.


  • Tamil Arasan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:27PM

    @Ayesha: “According to recent polls, 92 % of Indians said they ‘disliked’ Pakistan.” – may be it’s other way around, we in India have so many things to worry and feel good about our Mother Land, not that we worry about others or hate any country – India have changed and moved ahead from the eras of 50 to 90s… Past 22 years have made us realize our potential, now we have our home grown companies such as Infosys, TCS, Wipro who are global IT giants, and also there are many home grown fortune 500 companies from different industries – such us Reliance, Suzlon, Ranbaxy, Bajaj Auto, Adani etc…etc…

    I believe as a individual or as a nation one can’t move ahead or develop if they hate or worry about others – we minded our own business, unleashed our real talent and today gained the respect from the world community for our knowledge based economy…

    I welcome you to come and visit our cites like Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Noida or any metro cites and you will understand how India have developed from the tag of snake charmers to one of the fast developing economy with positive mind set, I will happily buy any Pakistani goods if it is cheep and value for money, but I don’t know about you….


  • Babloo
    Apr 13, 2012 - 5:59PM

    If majority of Indians dislike and have negative impression of Pakistanis, the reason is Pak state conduct towards India and Hindu/Sikhs in last 65 years. Hindu/Sikhs are now an endangered species in Pakistan.We know how it happened.
    Now please don’t say the one thing all Pakistanis like to say, “india is as bad as Pakistan”.
    No country is like Pakistan. Good or a bad. period.
    The reputation you have is the reputation your state/army/rulers have earned for last 65 years.


  • Riaz Khan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:21PM

    Indians & Pakistanis are distant cousins & same blood flows in both of us!


  • Tamil Arasan
    Apr 13, 2012 - 6:28PM

    @Riaz Khan: this sounds good!!!….because I am from a big family and have many cousins and i love them all :-)


  • Apr 13, 2012 - 7:58PM

    I think this step by both the governments is amazing. And my company is part of it and this is our first exhibition as we are a new design studio and exhibitions like these are only here to do good so lets just appreciate the effort and not talk about the conspiracies and negative things. after all thr is one thing that connects us all is that we all are humans. =). And i can point out my yellow small stall in the picture above. we are COALESCE Design Studio. ( only here to promote ourselves and peace.


  • bharat
    Apr 13, 2012 - 9:01PM

    Enough negative comments by Indians here, Pakistanis and Pakistani products are welcome in India.

    Many Indians like Pakistan and have great love for the talent of Pakistani people.

    Be it Atif Aslam in music, Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram in cricket or beautiful Pakistani women.

    In the last 3-4 years many Indians have also realised that many ordinary Pakistani people have seen terrorism from Taliban in there own cities.

    We have faced a few terrorist attacks but Pakistan has faced attacks almost weekly in the last 2 years.

    Most Indians do not hate Pakistani people. We just hate the terrorists who are not even 1 % of Pakistans population


  • Hold your horses
    Apr 13, 2012 - 10:47PM


    You’ll be surprised…..if the product is good, consumers will pay….


  • Sandeep
    Apr 14, 2012 - 6:22PM

    @Rai Yasir Ali Talib:
    Yasir, your products are beautiful..I am sure there’s a fantastic market in India..Meanwhile, you should also explore Dubai..All you need is to tie up with an established company like the Landmark group for example…They have a outlets all over the GCC and of course, India…Good Luck and God Bless you.


  • Apr 14, 2012 - 7:11PM

    @Sandeep: Thanks Sandeep i will definitely look into it and yes this is just the beginning and we will definitely gonna try for other markets. =)Recommend

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