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LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce and Industry, UK has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation towards improving trade and economic activities between Pakistan and United Kingdom.

President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mian Tariq Misbah and Chairman Hounslow Chamber of Commerce and Industry Christopher Durkin signed the MoU. Ms Tehmina Saeed Chaudhry, Executive Committee Member LCCI and Convener Standing Committee on “Environment”, Managing Director, Hounslow CCI Alan Rides, Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan in UK Dr Faisal Aziz Ahmad, Deputy High Commissioner and Trade Officer for Pakistan, British High Commission in Karachi Mike Nithavrianakis also attended the signing ceremony.

The MoU aims at increasing trade and investment opportunities for the members of both LCCI and Hounslow CCI. Both signatories will establish effective consultation, cooperation and exchange of information between them and further agree to hold meetings on regular intervals to identify the focus areas of cooperation.

LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that such interactions provide linkages for economic and social cooperation. LCCI hopes that this MoU would go a long way in strengthening working relations with the business community of United Kingdom through your good offices. He said that since both LCCI and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce are the premier business support organizations of their countries, therefore, sound relations between us can greatly contribute in exploiting the trade and investment potential between Pakistan and United Kingdom.

The LCCI President said that both Pakistan and UK enjoy warm and cordial diplomatic relations since long. UK has been one of the major trading partners of Pakistan and among the top exporting destinations around the globe.

He said that the both countries are maintaining the level of two way trade well over 2 billion dollars. In 2020, the bilateral trade volume stood at 2.34 billion dollars. Pakistan’s exports to UK are around 1.73 billion dollars while our imports from UK are 611 million dollars.

“Although Pakistan enjoys a positive trade balance with UK, LCCI feels that the trade volume can be increased many times, particularly through the efforts of institutions like ours. There is an ample potential of joint ventures between business communities of Pakistan and United Kingdom in the areas of Pharmaceuticals, IT, Renewable Energy, Processed Food, Surgical Instruments, Leather Goods, Automotive parts, Electric Vehicles, Mobile phone manufacturing and retail sector etc. Both LCCI and Hounslow Chamber can play a key role in facilitating joint ventures in the potential areas,” he added.

A positive development has occurred in the post-BREXIT scenario as the UK government has assured that Pakistan will continue to receive the same level of market access after BREXIT that it is receiving under the GSP plus scheme.

It goes without saying that your contacts and business relations with UK based business community will certainly help us in taking the advantage of the said assurance given by UK government. It is needless to mention that we will require the unconditional and full support from Hounslow Chamber of Commerce to obtain these objectives.

Christopher Durkin, Chairman Hounslow Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the London borough of Hounslow has a vibrant and diverse population of some 280,000 people and a business community in excess of some 18,000 companies that reflect all aspects of that diversity. He said that Hounslow Chamber of Commerce and Industry is multinational and a multi-cultured Chamber.

Tehmina Saeed Chaudhry, Executive Committee Member LCCI and Convener Standing Committee on “Environment” said that this is a historic moment as LCCI and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce and Industry have taken the initiative to sign MoU. She said that this would strengthen the liaison between both the chambers. Moreover, she also said that post COVID-19, both countries have enormously suffered in every sphere of life so it is important to boost and uplift each other by formulating these linkages.

Alan Rides, Managing Director, Hounslow Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that London City is one of the main hubs of business generation as it generates £500 billion and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce share is £40 billion. Dr Faisal Aziz Ahmad, Deputy Pakistan High Commissioner, London appreciated this initiative as this would help in generating revenue and boosting economies of both the countries. He said that Lahore and Hounslow are twin cities.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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