In Pakistan, businessmen see Brexit as opportunity for trade boost



PHOTO: AFP

LAHORE: The government is working to enter new markets in order to boost exports in the post-Brexit scenario and Pakistani entrepreneurs in Britain and Pakistan see this as an opportunity to enhance bilateral ties between the two countries, said Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) Chairman Mian Kashif Ashfaq.

Meeting a delegation of UK investors, Ashfaq pointed out that now that Britain had left the European Union, the economic partnership could be taken to a new level.

“To fully capitalise on these opportunities, British firms would like to see further progress on data privacy and ease of doing business indicator as well as a reduction in corporate tax rates,” he said.

“If these steps are taken and the UK maintains an active strategy for engagement and interaction with Pakistan at all levels, it will remain a significant partner in Pakistan’s future growth strategy.”

Ashfaq said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Brexit were two important developments and as global economic gravity was shifting towards Asia, Pakistan was opening new business opportunities for the benefit of people of both the countries.

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He pointed out that the UK was the third largest investor in Pakistan after China and the Netherlands and accounted for 8% of foreign direct investment in the country. “After overtaking China, the UK is now Pakistan’s second largest export market after the US and also the largest market in Europe,” he said. “Annual bilateral trade between the UK and Pakistan has risen to $2.9 billion.”

Just in the last one year, the trade value showed an increase of 10%, he said. Currently, Pakistan is exporting $1.8 billion worth of goods and services to the UK.

Ashfaq emphasised that Pakistan was keen to expand and diversify its export base and the country was already competitive in products such as textile, garments, surgical instruments, steel and sports goods.

The FIEDMC chairman said European countries were keen to invest in various sectors in Pakistan in order to cash in on the business opportunities in the country.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2020.

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