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LAHORE: Consul General of Turkiye Durmus Bastug said that the Special Investment facilitation Council (SIFC) is a good step for both the investors and countries as the Embassy of Turkey is closely monitoring the activities of the SIFC and is hopeful that this initiative will produce good results.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry during a meeting with the President LCCI Kashif Anwar.

The Consul General further said that the SIFC initiative will bring new investments and will also help in resolving the issues being faced by the existing investment in the country.

He said that Turkiye is aware of the potential of Pakistan as the investors of Turkiye have invested around 2 billion dollars in Pakistan and half of its investments is in Punjab which would hopefully rise to $5 billion.

“We want to remove the problems being faced by the investors,” said Durmus Bastug, adding that “We are monitoring PTA with Pakistan and will move to the Second Phase which is FTA after the results of PTA.”

LCCI President Kashif Anwar, while appreciating SIFC, said that we are really keen to take a reasonable share in the overall trade of Turkiye. The global exports of Turkiye were around 225 billion dollars while total imports were nearly 271 billion dollars in 2021. Taking the latest bilateral trade figures in consideration, we come to know that the share of Pakistan in total trade of Turkiye is just 0.25 percent.

The LCCI President believed that there are multiple Pakistani sectors where both countries can enhance economic cooperation, especially the pharmaceutical sector of Pakistan secondly the sectors identified in SIFC, which are ideal for joint ventures between the two sides. The other key sectors with immense scope of joint ventures are tourism, information technology, agriculture technology and renewable energy.

He hoped that once PTA creates goodwill and economic gains, both sides can move towards a more comprehensive free trade agreement. He stated that the quickset way to boost the economic relationship between the two sides is to encourage direct business-to-business contact through exchange of delegations and participation in single country exhibitions.

Kashif Anwar said that it is very encouraging that both the countries achieved a significant milestone in bilateral relations by signing a Preferential Trade Agreement last year. He hoped that PTA would open up new opportunities to expand mutual trade ties across various sectors.

He said that as per State Bank of Pakistan’s data, Pakistan’s exports to Turkiye were $268 million in 2020-21 which increased to $355 million in 2021-22. Similarly, Pakistan’s imports from Turkiye were $867 million in 2020-21 that increased to over $944 million in 2021-22.

He said that Pakistan’s exports to Turkiye are heavily dominated by textiles whereas our imports mainly comprise machinery, iron and steel, chemicals and plastic items, among others. We need to make efforts to bridge Pakistan’s trade deficit and to enhance the trade volume to at least $5 billion by utilizing the market access on nearly 261 tariff lines provided by Turkiye in the existing Preferential Trade Agreement.

The LCCI President said that under the PTA, Pakistan has gained market access in sectors such as leather, rice, dates, mangoes, cutlery, sports goods, seafood, processed agricultural products, rubber tubes, tyres, plastics and engineering goods etc. He hoped that Pakistan could utilize this market access and enhance its exports to Turkiye considerably in these sectors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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