ISLAMABAD: The positive economic reviews in the International Monetary Fund’s loan programme for Pakistan were encouraging for Japan to resume its yen loans, said Japanese Minister of State Katsunobu Kato on Thursday.
During a meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Tokyo, the state minister assured Pakistan that Japan would continue to provide assistance for the settlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs), eradication of polio, flood mitigation and the fight against terrorism.
“We have pledged to work with and support Pakistan in the areas of economy, security, democracy and rule of law,” he said while appreciating the efforts put in by Pakistan for the development of economy and improvement of security. Earlier, speaking at a luncheon hosted by Japan Pakistan Parliamentary Friendship League President Seishiro Eto and former Japanese foreign minister Koichiro Gemba, Dar invited Japanese companies to take full benefit of the Special Economic Zone being established for them in Sindh.
He also discussed enhancement of trade volume between the two countries during a meeting with Japan External Trade Organisation Chairman Hiroyuki Ishiguro.
“Prospects of investment in Pakistan are bright due to the government’s effective policies. Infrastructure development and terrorism pose major challenges but necessary steps have been taken to address them,” he said.
Dar also spoke about the expanding halal food industry and urged Japanese investors to explore the sector in Pakistan. Globally, the halal food market is estimated at $3 trillion.
“This sector in Pakistan is a gateway to 470 million Muslims and holds great potential for the global halal Industry,” he said. “It is the right time to encourage international alliances by facilitating entrepreneurs and highlighting Pakistan as an emerging market for halal products and services.”
Dar said with the help of Japanese technology and investment and Pakistan’s resources, joint ventures could be established for producing goods with Pakistan’s halal certifications. Industries could be set up anywhere in the country, though proximity to the transport hubs, especially in designated areas such as the Japanese Special Economic Zone, would be beneficial.
Replying to a question, the minister said the Pak-China Economic Corridor, while benefitting the entire region including central Asian states, India and Afghanistan, would also help Japan in accessing Gulf nations.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 16th, 2015.