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I have been President of Pakistan, Japan Business Forum (PJBF) for over six years and led two delegations to Japan - one with former President General Pervez Musharraf and second one of which I was the leader to build further close bilateral relations and encourage greater interaction with Japanese companies and their multinationals.

We have been to a great extent successful and are making more efforts in order to increase bilateral trade and attract more investment from Japan to Pakistan in various sectors.

I would like to mention the efforts made since the 1950s by the Jaffer Group of Companies of which my father late Ahmed E H Jaffer was Chairman to have trade and business relations between Japan and Pakistan. My uncle, late Ismail E H Jaffer, head of Pakistan Garage Company, and Jaffer Industrial Corporation Karachi, with whom I started working in year1959 as a trainee encouraged me to contact Japanese truck manufacturers and secure agency.

I developed relations with Mitsubishi Corporation, Karachi, who recommended I visit Tokyo and secure agency of Isuzu Trucks and secured the agency of Isuzu Motors Limited and they also agreed to give us free two Army trucks 4x4 for tests and trials in rugged terrains of entire Pakistan by the General Headquarters GHQ, Rawalpindi. Isuzu trucks were approved by GHQ after one year of extensive successful tests, trials and got the first order from the DGDP, Pakistan Army after competition with Toyota Truck. The Japanese government was also very kind in giving soft loan of five million dollars. The first shipment of Isuzu trucks came in CKD condition 1960. In all 886 Isuzu trucks and spare parts were imported within nine months of contract. It was a landmark achievement of Pakistan Garage Company and Jaffer Industrial Corporation. In recognition of my hard work, I was decorated by the then President General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan in August 1971.

I feel very strongly that there is need for more exchange of economic delegations between Pakistan and Japan in order to increase bilateral trade and investment. Japan is a very important Country for Pakistan's businessmen and industrialist who must increase annual trade volume as well as transfer of technology. Japan is a huge market for Pakistani textile, yarn, sports goods and fruits and similarly Japan has a large variety of goods of interest to Pakistan which can be manufactured in Pakistan with their Technical cooperation and assistance. I am happy that some items such as Toyota cars and trucks and HINO Trucks are being assembled/Manufactured locally.

I recommend that PJBF must become more aggressive and set up a special Committee to set up Joint ventures with Japanese Manufacturers. I am confident that the private sectors of both countries would continue to strive for substantial increase in trade and investment in future.

There is also a need for Pakistan's tour operators to explore the possibility of attracting Japanese tourists to visit scenic beauty areas of our northern Pakistan.

I am sure that business and economic relations between Pakistan and Japan will substantially grow in future for mutual benefit.

I extend my felicitations to PJBF for celebrating 20 years of its formation and request that the newly elected President of PJBF and his team must actively get engaged with the Japanese and prepare a list of Industries which are mutually beneficial to be set up in Pakistan.

I wish the new President and the Committee members of PJBF my good wishes for a successful term in developing positively both trade and investment between our two countries.

Japan & Pakistan DOSTI ZINDABAD.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021