UAE, Pakistan can look forward to long-term economic collaborations
The UAE and Pakistan share deep bilateral relations based on a long history, trust, and respect.
Bilateral trade ties between the UAE and Pakistan will continue to strengthen in the coming years, as both nations seek new opportunities to work together towards recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, experts said at an event on Tuesday.
Speaking at an event organised by the Pakistan Business Council titled ‘Business Opportunities: Bilateral Trade Between the UAE and Pakistan’, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said that the UAE and Pakistan share deep bilateral relations based on a long history, trust, and respect.
“Bilateral trade between the two nations showed a growth even during the tough times that were seen throughout the world,” he said. “For us, Pakistan is among the top 25 important strategic global trade partners. In terms of imports, the UAE is Pakistan’s second biggest partner. Both countries also have significant investments in various sectors in each other’s economies such as real estate. The UAE recently announced the 100 per cent foreign ownership law, which has spurred economic activity and been hailed by the business community in Pakistan and around the world.”
He also said that UAE looked forward to bilateral investments growing, and that the UAE was ready to “support them in every possible way.” The UAE is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and a major source of investments and remittances. The trade volume between the two countries amounted to around $8.19 billion in the year 2019.
“Looking ahead, we see great potential in Pakistan’s agriculture sector, especially as we all continue to work towards food security,” he said. “We have started seeing major transformations lately, especially during the pandemic. Digitalisation is the most important topic that we have seen right now, and the UAE is a leader in driving the trend forward. I urge all Pakistani businessmen to look for opportunities in the UAE and GCC to help our economies grow together.”
Afzal Mahmood, ambassador of Pakistan to the UAE, also highlighted several topics in his keynote, especially what the world can expect to see from Pakistan at Expo 2020 Dubai. “Our two economies complement each other, so we need to understand where the value added advantage lies and how we can support each other; we work with that spirit with the UAE. The Pakistan government has announced several initiatives that will attract the foreign business community to explore several sectors in Pakistan such as tourism, agriculture, fashion, and hospitality.”
“Pakistan will be participating at the Expo 2020 Dubai with its pavilion under the theme ‘Pakistan: The Hidden Treasure’ and we encourage everyone to come and visit,” he added. “You will see everything about Pakistan’s history, culture, agriculture, tourism, and hospitality.”
Shabbir Merchant, chairman of Champion Group, said that the event on Tuesday speaks volumes about the way that the UAE has tackled the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensured the safety of residents after the lockdowns. He also highlighted how both the UAE and Pakistan have worked steadfastly towards economic recovery, while building on the strength of their bilateral relations.
“This event is proof of the confidence that both countries have in each other and their economic partnerships,” he said. “We have been doing our best to bring together the business community to work together towards economic recovery. Right now, our focus is on long-term economic recovery and growth.”
Merchant also highlighted the confidence that foreign investors have in Pakistan today. “The new government has ensured that there are several facilities and platforms in place to help foreign investors that are interested in setting up their businesses in the country. This momentum will only continue to increase in the coming months, especially in sectors such as IT, building materials, textiles, agriculture, and FMCG.”
Speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the event, Ahmed Shaikhani, president of the Pakistan Business Council, spoke about how the whole world is gearing up for an economic rebound as pressures revolving around the Covid-19 pandemic ease. “People once again have the confidence to start their own businesses, while others are looking to enhance their businesses in different geographies and verticals. As far as the UAE and Pakistan are concerned, there are several opportunities for both nations to collaborate and strengthen existing ties.”
He said that both nations are already in talks to work together in segments such as agritech, healthcare & wellness, manufacturing, logistics, and IT. “Food security is a key topic that both nations are working on right now. Pakistan has a wealth of expertise in the agriculture sector which we can share with our UAE partners. Besides agriculture, there are also lots of opportunities in the healthcare sector, petrochemicals, textiles, and sports related activities. Tourism and hospitality are both sectors in Pakistan where we see the UAE playing a key developmental role.”
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