Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that businessmen of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) need to utilize the immense business opportunities in Pakistan – a market of over 220 million people – offering its investors a strong and large consumer market.
In an interview with Khaleej Times during his visit to the UAE last week, he said, “Energy, infrastructure, e-commerce, agro-based industry, and IT sectors are up for grabs.”
Premier Shehbaz Sharif besides his meeting the UAE leadership, also witnessed the signing of three memoranda of understanding (MoUs) in the fields of combating human trafficking, information exchange, and cooperation between the diplomatic academies of both countries.
To a question about the trade relations between Pakistan and UAE, the prime minister pointed out that the bilateral trade with the UAE had increased by 25.40% during 2021-22 as compared to the previous year, amounting to US$10.60 billion.
However, he said, “The current level of bilateral trade is still not a true reflection.”
“We are looking to further strengthen our existing economic, trade and investment ties.”
PM Shehbaz said the average annual trade between the two countries stood at US$8 billion making the UAE the largest trading partner of Pakistan in the MENA region.
Responding to another query on new areas of cooperation, he said, “We find new avenues of economic cooperation to take our economic relations at par with our excellent political relations.”
The prime minister described Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Financial Technology (Fintech) as new areas of collaboration with much greater potential.
Commenting on the UAE humanitarian aid to flood victims in Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz thanked the UAE for its “valuable and timely” humanitarian support for flood-affected people.
“The day floods hit Pakistan I received a call from His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, who said, ‘we will immediately start sending relief goods for the flood-affected areas’,” he recalled.
And then, he said, an air bridge was established between Abu Dhabi and Pakistan, and relief goods were sent to Islamabad, and different cities of Sindh including Karachi, Badin and Shikarpur.
On the UAE and Pakistan friendship, the prime minister explained that the foundation of these relations was laid by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who wanted Pakistan to be among the leading, prosperous and progressive countries.
“We will never forget his benevolence and generosity for all times to come.”