Trade ties with China kick into higher gear


Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Chief Executive Tariq Iqbal Puri is currently leading a large trade delegation to Kashgar, China to attend the Pakistan-China Business Forum, which is the second of a series of such forums which are being organised to celebrate the 60th year of friendship between the two countries.
About 150 Pakistani exhibitors and prominent businessmen are participating in a weeklong event, which includes; display of products in the Kashgar Fair, organising the Forum and arranging B2B meetings. This Forum was organised jointly by TDAP, the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing and the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) on 29th June 2011 to attract trade and investment from China to Pakistan.
While addressing the Business Forum, Puri, said that Kashgar is ideally located to become a hub for trade, logistics and tourism between Pakistan and China. He called for stronger links between Pakistan and China through the Kashgar route. He called for businessmen of both countries to take advantage of the complementarities between the economies of the two regions.
He greatly appreciated the offer of the Chinese government for setting up a one square kilometer zone (to be extended to two kilometers) in the newly created Special Economic Zone. He said that with the creation of the SEZ Kashgar, it would become the Shenzhen of the West, providing great opportunities for the businessmen of both countries.
He emphasised upon the need for more business forums on similar lines to be held in all provincial cities of China so that Pakistan’s products are introduced all over China. He further said that the second round of FTA negotiations was underway and he was ensuring that the advantages of FTA would be utilised in the Xinjiang and Kashgar. He informed the participants that TDAP was specially focusing on China and particularly on Xinjiang. This year TDAP would participate in 20 exhibitions in China, and during the Euro Asia EXPO in Urumqi in September, Pakistan would participate in a big way, not only projecting Pakistan’s trade but also its Culture.
Puri appreciated China’s double digit growth during the last 15 years making it the second largest economy in the world. Pakistan’s geo-strategic location can certainly leverage the existing trade to new levels. It was noted that the policies of the government for the liberalisation of trade has encouraged the development of the private sector and has opened new avenues for the private sector to play a key role in all economic activities. He appreciated the Chinese government’s policy of encouraging its public as well as private sector to take an active part in projects in Pakistan. China’s public and private sector is currently involved in over 250 projects in Pakistan from small to large scale and from strategic to ordinary businesses.
He informed the participants that TDAP has declared China the focus for its trade initiatives in 2011–2012 and plans to participate in more than 20 fairs in China as part of 60 year of diplomatic relations. Through this outreach program, it intends to access all the different regions of China while introducing Pakistan as a country which can be relied for its quality and competitive offerings in various sectors like textiles, leather, fisheries, food products, marble and minerals. TDAP will organise seminars and conferences with a view to identify new areas of trade and investment. During this year, TDAP is sending 10 product specific delegations to China and one such delegation of textile exporters has already visited China on the occasion of China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou in the first week of May 2011.
He apprised the audience that Pakistan’s endeavours have resulted in taking bilateral trade levels to $8.6 billion in 2010, showing a growth of 28 percent. Pakistan’s exports exceeded $1.7 billion showing a growth of 37 percent. He extended invitation to Chinese and South Asian businessmen to visit EXPO Pakistan in October (20-23) this year. TDAP offered to host a Pakistan China Entrepreneurs Forum during the EXPO.
Earlier the Pak-China Business Forum was addressed by the Vice Commissioner of Kashgar Prefecture, the Ambassador of Pakistan in China Masood Khan, the Chief Secretary of Northern Areas Saifullah Chattha, former Ambassador to China Akram Zaki and past President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce Tariq Sayeed.
All speakers highlighted the importance of Kashgar as a link to China and the rest of Central Asia. Officials of Department of Kashgar Prefecture, including Customs, Immigration, Inspection and Quarantine and Taxation Departments participated in the event. It was also attended by 50 biggest importers in Kasghar region and more than 50 businessmen from Pakistan.