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LAHORE: A high-level delegation of Saudi businessmen and investors visited the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry to explore new avenues for joint ventures and investment opportunities in Pakistan.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir, along with Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq, warmly welcomed the delegation and presented the address of welcome. Fahad Al Bash was leading the delegation while Commercial Attaché, Embassy of Saudi Arabia Mubsher Alshehry and LCCI Executive Committee Members also spoke on the occasion.

Saudi delegation, having members from construction, infrastructure, energy, tourism, and pharmaceuticals, also held B2B meetings with the LCCI members to pave way for new business ventures in various sectors of economy.

The head of the delegation Fahad Al Bash on the occasion said that Saudi businessmen aimed at exploring trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan. He said there was a huge support from both the governments for the business communities to work and there was a lot of potential in the economies to tap into for both countries.

“We are looking for good joint ventures with Pakistani counterparts and hopefully this visit will be very fruitful and result oriented,” he added.

Fahad Al Bash said there was a huge potential to increase exports of rice, fruits and vegetables, Halal meat, mangoes, pharmaceuticals, and different kinds of marble and granites from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said “we take Saudi Arabia as the heartland of Islam, the site of the two holy mosques and the focus of Islamic devotion and prayer. It is also an important maritime neighbour of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is not only the fellow member of Pakistan in Organization of Islamic Cooperation but we also have excellent close, warm, brotherly, cordial and deep relations.”

He said Saudi Arabia had the largest economy in the Arab world and Pakistan must find ways to further enhance its trade and economic ties.

He said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan shared a special bond with each other. “It also houses the largest number of Pakistanis as expatriates. Above all, Saudi Arabia has always stood beside Pakistan in difficult times. To thank for all that we are really short of words.”

LCCI President said “our Saudi counterparts belong to various key sectors of economy that include renewable energy, real estate, pharmaceutical, logistics, agriculture, food processing, edible oil, tourism, oil & gas etc. We are quite glad to know that Saudi delegates are interested to interact with Pakistani counterparts to find prospective business partners.”

He said Lahore Chamber would certainly like to play its role in match making with the bonafide member companies. “We consider exchange of trade delegations is one of the most effective ways of enhancing trade.”

He said that in 2021, the imports of Pakistan from Saudi Arabia stood at dollars 3.78 billion while “our exports to Saudi Arabia were around 404 million dollars. Previous year, the volume of exports was 432 million and it must be enhanced on war footing basis to minimize the ongoing gap of mutual trade deficit. The major exports of Pakistan to Saudi Arabia include rice, meat, spices, bed linen, tents, men’s wear, footwear, woven fabrics and fresh fruits etc., whereas the imports from Saudi Arabia are mainly related to petroleum oils. I expect that this visit of Saudi delegation to Pakistan will add new trading lines particularly for enhancing Pakistan’s exports.”

Mian Nauman Kabir said “we have to identify areas of joint ventures. Pakistan has trained manpower and sufficient land for industrial as well as agricultural projects. There can be a win-win situation for both the countries if Saudi investors team up with our local industrialists.”

He said that in order to realise those objectives, there had to be close liaison between respective private sectors of two countries. “It is needless to mention that the role of Saudi Embassy is of key importance in this connection. For that matter, we have to keep in touch on regular basis.”

LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that Saudi Arabia had been important trading partner of Pakistan since long. It comes at fifth place and 14th place among the top importing and exporting countries for Pakistan respectively — across the globe. “It is a source of encouragement for us to learn — that you have a special place for Pakistan in your heart — and you desire to expand and promote trade between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia through developing business networking.”

He said Saudi Arab and Pakistan were key member states of Organization of Islamic Cooperation. “I would like to inform you that LCCI has been advocating since long for making good use of OIC platform.”

“We believe that Islamic countries should assist each other for attaining economic benefits. Since the Headquarter of OIC is in Jeddah, so, — we would like you to please play some supporting role to expedite the efforts — aimed at engaging the economic, political and social elements of Islamic countries,” Mian Rehman Aziz Chan added.

He also emphasized on the need of developing private to private contacts in order to bring two countries close. “I think we should also plan a businessmen delegation to Saudi Arabia — to reciprocate the gesture you have showed by visiting Pakistan.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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