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KARACHI: Herman Hardynata Bin Ahmad, Consul General of Malaysia agreed that there are logistical impediments, lack of direct flights and insufficient B2B activities and he is reaching out to business community of Pakistan to address these issues.

Speaking at a meeting held at FPCCI, he said that Malaysia is assessing the possibilities to offer concessions or waivers in duties to the ten products requested by Pakistan under the FTA review process.

He stated that Malaysia needs to import rice, pink salt, surgical goods, chicken, eggs and other Halal foods to meet its domestic demand.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has expressed his longstanding concerns that bilateral trade deficit with Malaysia has been in excess of US one billion dollars historically which should be addressed in the new FTA being discussed between the two governments.

He highlighted that there are many Pakistani products which are exported to Malaysia through third countries after only packaging and branding; e.g. Pakistan’s world-class surgical and sports goods.

Sheikh apprised that FPCCI team has discussed the rationale and must-have sectorial concessions, which should be included in the FTA, during the visit of Malaysian CG Herman Hardynata Bin Ahmad to the FPCCI. He added that the FTA is more than 15 years old and need to be reviewed and expanded as it has lost its relevance in today’s time.

Shabbir Mansha, VP FPCCI, emphasised that after Pakistan’s inclusion into TIR Convention, Pakistan has started trade with CIS countries through land-based routes – which is not only time saving but also more than halves the cost of transportation. He added that Pakistan and Malaysia should explore and study the possibilities of using TIR Convention and transit trade routes to enhance their bilateral trade.

Shabbir Mansha also requested the Malaysian diplomat to use their influence to get Pakistan a Full Dialogue Partner status in the important alliance of ASEAN from the current status of a Sectorial Dialogue Partner.

He apprised the Consul General that the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has solicited the feedback, proposals and recommendations of the apex body of FPCCI in the review process of FTA with Malaysia; which is being revised after it was signed back in November 2007.

Bashir Jan Mohammed, Chairman of FPCCI’s Pakistan-Malaysia Business Council (PMBC), apprised the session that palm oil imports from Malaysia to Pakistan have declined considerably due to various restrictions; and top of the list is the imposition of 3 to 8 percent export duty on Crude Palm Oil (CPO). He also emphasised that direct flights between the major cities of Pakistan and Malaysia can enable the exports of perishables like fruits and vegetables.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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