ISLAMABAD: “Pakistan was the second-largest trading partner of Malaysia in South East Asia last year. Therefore, both countries should make efforts to take these relations to a new level by aggressively exploring opportunities for joint ventures in various sectors,” Malaysian High Commissioner Dr Hasrul Sani Bin Mujtabar has said. He made these remarks in a meeting with the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Yassar Sakhi Butt.
Mujtabar said that Pakistan produces good quality and affordable agricultural products. Pakistani rice and mangoes have especially great demand in Malaysian markets, while Malaysia complements this with its expertise and access to ASEAN free trade agreements, he remarked.
The Malaysian high commissioner was optimistic that bilateral trade volumes between Pakistan and Malaysia could be increased by exploring new avenues of cooperation. He also assured that his country would increase the volume of imports of Pakistani agricultural products, which he said would also improve bilateral trade relations further between the two countries.
While speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Yassar Sakhi Butt said that the current increase in bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia followed the signing of a Free Trade Agreemeent between the two countries in 2007. But, he continued, Pakistan’s share in bilateral trade is only $257 million, which has tilted the balance of trade heavily in favour of Malaysia. He stressed that there is a dire need to address this imbalance through increasing export of Pakistani products to Malaysia.
Butt called on the Malaysian business community to take advantage of the vast Pakistani market and explore investment opportunities in agriculture, construction, livestock and dairy, energy, education, IT and the Halal industry sectors.
Butt was of the view that organising joint cultural events was an option which could be used to bring the people of both nations closer to each other, as well as exploit untapped bilateral trade and investment potential in both countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 17th, 2012.