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KARACHI: Pak-UK Business Council of FPCCI organized a webinar (which is the first collaborative event of its kind) with Greater Manchester Chambers of Commerce (GMCC) to provide information on business and investment opportunities in Pakistan — as well as how to connect with partners and potential customers.

The webinar focused on diversification of exports between the two countries to further enhance and strengthen economic ties.

Following the signing of a Trade and Cooperation Agreement between FPCCI and GMCC, Pak-UK Business Council invited companies in Greater Manchester and beyond to explore Trade and Investment Opportunities in a vibrant and high-growth potential country: Pakistan.

The event started with a welcome note by Susana Cordoba – Head of International Trade at GMCC, who welcomed the audience and highlighted the coming together of both sides to explore business opportunities of mutual interest. She also provided an overview of current trade between the UK, the North West, and Greater Manchester with Pakistan.

Andy Burnham, the newly-elected mayor of Manchester, congratulated both sides through a pre-recorded message and highlighted strong base of Pakistani Diaspora in the region. Arshad Dadabhoy – International Trade Adviser, Department of International Trade, North West England shared his perspective of supporting export growth for British businesses operating in the region.

Addressing the participants, Secretary BOI Fareena Mazhar shared that UK is the second largest investor in Pakistan with a net FDI of $1,117.3m in FY 2020 and a number of British companies with substantial investments are successfully operating in the country.

Nonetheless, the trade and investment portfolio should be increased through active interaction between the business communities of two countries.

Secretary BOI highlighted that a repository of over 130 projects worth USD 60 billion are available for investors on the newly launched interactive website of BOI as well as sector-wise details of offered incentives.

DG BOI, Investment Promotion, Jamil Qureshi delivered a detailed presentation on investment opportunities in various sectors such as tourism, housing/construction, pharmaceuticals, livestock, automobile, IT, textiles, food processing, etc. under SEZs; with lucrative incentives for UK investors. He urged investors to benefit from Pakistan’s investor-friendly policies and assured of BOI’s support. Riaz Sheikh – DG TDAP shared a presentation with the participants on trade related opportunities for British businesses.

Chairman Pak-UK Business Council of FPCCI Imran Khalil Naseer moderated a panel of diplomats, experts, and businesses comprising Mike Nithavrianakis – British Deputy HC in Karachi and Director Trade for Pakistan; Prof Annie Lu – Dean of Canterbury Christchurch University (Education Sector); Mujahid Ali – Mymed Pharmaceu-ticals (Healthcare Sector); and Asif Peer – CEO Systems Ltd (representing Pakistan’s Technology Sector). Mike Nithavrianakis, British Deputy HC in Karachi and Director Trade for Pakistan, shared his input on the role of UK’s Department of International Trade in encouraging British businesses to enter Pakistan. He also commented on two latest UK business entrants in Pakistan, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, and how this was made possible. Mike Nithavrianakis also extended advice for British businesses considering entering Pakistani market.

Two success stories of British businesses in education (Canterbury Christchurch University) and healthcare (Mymed Pharma) shared their experiences with the British audience. Both businesses have recently set up collaborations in Pakistan.

Asif Peer, CEO of Systems Ltd and Director of Pak-UK Business Council of FPCCI, highlighted opportunities for business in the technology sector. He spoke on how UK companies can establish their IT setups in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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