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LAHORE: Referring to the vast business opportunities, Pakistan and UK have emphasized on the importance of further developing relations in the investment and trade sectors. These views were expressed during a webinar organized by the Punjab Board of Investment & Trade in collaboration with UK Pakistan Business Council to explore investment and business opportunities in Punjab.

The webinar heard from the CEO Punjab Board of Investment & Trade, Dr Erfa Iqbal, Deputy Director International Trade, British High Commission Islamabad, Olivia Campbell, Minister Trade and Commerce, Pakistan High Commission London, Shafiq Shehzad, President UKPBC Pakistan, Khursheed Barlas, President UKPBC UK Saleem Sheikh and Head of Advisory Board UKPBC Dr G Murtaza. Representatives of relevant associations, leading businessmen, entrepreneurs, officials and academia comprised the audience.

Dr Erfa Iqbal informed participants about the tremendous economic progress made by Pakistan recently and assured them that under the leadership of PM Imran Khan sustainable development and economic stability is being rapidly achieved. She stated that Pakistan is a growing economy and investments are highly welcomed as we are determined to facilitate investors in all sectors.

A well-prepared presentation was shared with the participants representing the sector analysis of various sectors and highlighted the investment opportunities and ways of exploiting the investment potential in Punjab. Highlighting the significance of the Special Economic Zones, Chief Executive Officer, PBIT, expressed that provision of attractive incentives, state-of-the-art infrastructure and facilities in SEZ's transforming Punjab in to a lucrative market for investors.

Deputy Director International Trade, British High Commission Islamabad, Olivia Campbell said, "with half of Pakistan's population living in Punjab, there are 110 million reasons why UK trade should look for opportunities here; and I'm delighted that our new trade office based in Lahore stands ready to support British business." She added that with the UK's Export Finance limit for Pakistan increased to £1.5 billion and nearly 200 British companies already successfully operating in Pakistan, it is clear that UK-Pak trade is an excellent example of UK-Pak Dosti.

Minister Trade and Commerce, Pakistan High Commission London, Shafiq Shehzad said that the land of Punjab is blessed with dynamism, top class infrastructure, skilled labor and strategic locations. The current government is making efforts to provide stimulus to the economy of the country by providing advantages to investors by development of new industrial parks, special economic zones and better taxation structures.

President UKPBC Pakistan, Khursheed Barlas stressed the need for more developed contacts between the businessmen of Pakistan and Great Britain to explore prospects and openings for investments and building bilateral ties.

The webinar discussed various aspects of investment and trade development between Pakistan and UK in which Britain can explore opportunities such as agriculture, Textile, Livestock, dairy, leather and its products, energy, tourism, aquaculture, ecommerce & digital segment and education.

By organizing such sessions, PBIT aims to build and provide more positive, synergistic avenues for discussions that can lead to strategic partnerships and joint efforts in facilitating trade and investment between Punjab and the United Kingdom.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021