The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javed has said that Pakistan and Malaysia have close and cordial relations but mutual trade ties are not as good as these should be. Pakistan has a negligible share in Malaysian imports of over $ 140 billion. He was talking to the Pakistan High Commissioner designate to Malaysia M. Nafees Zakaria here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rasheed and Vice President Zeshan Khalil spoke on the occasion while Awais Saeed Piracha, Naeem Hanif, Nabila Intisar, Zafar Iqbal and Rizwan Akhter Shamsi were present in the meeting.
Malik Tahir Javed said that the trade analysis between two countries shows that in the last three years, we could not bring any improvement in our exports to Malaysia. For instance, he said, in 2014, the volume of Pakistan exports to Malaysia was dollar 234 million which reduced to dollar 186 million and dollar 152 million in next two years. In contrast to that the imports from Malaysia to Pakistan increased in 2015 from dollar 911 million to dollar 945 million after a year.
The LCCI President said that the balance of trade has always been in favour of Malaysia and this situation is prevailing. Over the last five years this gap is constantly closing but still the total imports from Malaysia are six times of our exports to Malaysia. He said that Malaysia and Pakistan have already signed a Free Trade Agreement which came into effect in January 2008. It has to be taken seriously that we have failed to take some advantage of this FTA. It provided us good platform to be utilized for a win-win situation but Pakistan achieved far lesser than its potential.
Talking about huge dip in bilateral trade which was as high as dollar 2.97 billion in 2011, the LCCI president underlined the need to take immediate steps. From 2015 to 2016, the level of bilateral trade has remained stuck to dollar 1.1 billion. He said that the business community is trying its level best to make good use of FTA but there has to be some support provided by the Ministry of Commerce and especially commercial section of our High Commission in Malaysia. He said that we want to acquire some justifiable share in trade with Malaysia. There is a huge potential of exporting Pakistani rice, fresh fruits like citrus and mango to Malaysia.
Malik Tahir Javed said that the FTA does provide our exporters certain edge in the form of duty relief on fruits and vegetables etc. but due to knowing little about the packaging and certain requirements related to certification of food items, they cannot make full utilization of these opportunities. He said that joint ventures in the fields of livestock & dairy, food processing, energy, chemicals, Halal products and especially in light engineering can further strengthen the trade ties between two countries. He said that we need to develop good liaison with our Mission in Malaysia in order to overcome all the challenges involved in enhancing exports to Malaysia.
Earlier, Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia M. Nafees Zakaria urged Pakistani businessmen to evolve strategy to tap huge potential that exists in Malaysia. He said that he would make all out efforts to turn Pakistan mission in Malaysia into a match-making point for the business community in the two countries. He said that he would also utilize Malaysian media to highlight the soft image of Pakistan as in today’s world media is a strong tool to propagate information.