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LAHORE: United Arab Emirates has tremendous investment opportunities in bio-technology, food, agriculture and various other sectors that should be availed by the private sector of Pakistan.

These views were expressed by the Ambassador of UAE Hamad Obaid Ibrahim Salem Al-Zaabi while speaking at a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir, in his address of welcome, shed light on the possibilities for enhancement of bilateral trade and economic scenario. Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion.

The Ambassador said that Pakistan and UAE enjoy unique relations with each other. A lot of Pakistanis are actively contributing to the various sectors of economy in UAE.

He said that a large number of businessmen from UAE are interested to invest in Pakistan but they don’t have full picture and knowledge about the market needs. He said that an agreement under CPEC is also in process that will allow free trade between the countries.

“We are looking for establishing an interactive platform between the two countries by collaborating with chambers of commerce of both sides”, the Ambassador said and added that there is a dire need for ensuring maximum facilitation to the investors of the both countries in this challenging economic era.

The LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan and UAE have time-tested diplomatic and economic relations. These ties are well reflected in sizeable trade volume and cooperation in various fields including defence sector.

He said that the LCCI recognises the importance of UAE as one of the most important economies of Middle East. It has a rich culture and heritage that reflects traditional Arab and Islamic values.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that UAE has made exceptional economic transformation and infrastructural developments in last few decades.

He said that UAE and Pakistan are major economic and trading partners. Among the top importing and exporting countries for Pakistan, UAE comes at 2nd and 6th places respectively. The balance of trade has always been in favour of UAE because major share of imports made from UAE consist of petroleum products and crude oils which stood at around 77 percent last year.

“During last two years i.e. 2020 and 2021, the volume of trade between Pakistan and UAE increased from 5.6 billion dollars to 8.6 billion dollars. Pakistan’s exports inched up from 1.1 billion dollars in 2020 to 1.2 billion dollars in 2021 while imports from UAE jumped from 4.5 billion dollars to 7.4 billion dollars in the same period. We are keen to close this gap through enhancing our exports to UAE”, he added.

He said that UAE’s meat imports are 394 million dollars while Pakistan’s share in it is only 140 million dollars. Similarly, Pakistan’s rice export share is 123 million dollars in 470 million dollars UAE’s import of this sector and 88 million dollars in 2960 million dollars UAE’s import of fruits.

He commended the efforts of UAE government in organizing the Dubai Expo 2020 which gave excellent opportunities to the businesses to connect, create and innovate. “We are obliged that Pakistan had a significant representation in that Expo”, he added.

The President LCCI suggested the UAE Ambassador to establish an UAE help desk here in the premises of the LCCI so that the trade related issues of LCCI members immediately.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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