LCCI eyes East European market


Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Thursday, while calling for market diversification, has urged the businessmen to make inroads in Eastern Europe which is an untapped market and has a huge potential for Pakistani goods. LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh was talking to Ambassador-designate to Bulgaria Jamshed Iftikhar here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI Senior Vice President Kashif Younis Meher, Vice President Saeeda Nazar, former President Mian Muzaffar Ali and former Senior Vice President tahir Javed Malik also attended the meeting and spoke on as to how the trade relations with Bulgaria could be further strengthened. LCCI President said that Pakistani merchandise are best of the best in the world but only because of lack of information it could not be able to reach a number of good international markets. He said that Bulgaria is a gateway to Europe with cheaper labour as compared to Europe; therefore, it could help win a number of European destinations. Irfan Qaiser Sheikh said that Pakistani business community wants to develop good trade and economic relations with Bulgarian businessmen and in this regard the role of Pakistan Embassy is of prime importance. He said that both Pakistan and Bulgaria were loosing their share in two way trade. Imports and exports are dropping year by year and it is causing a downward trend in overall trade. Pakistan’s exports to Bulgaria were to the tune of $15.3 million in 2008 which dropped by 22.2 per cent and 14.3 per cent in 2009 and 2010 respectively. Similarly Pakistan’s imports from Bulgaria stood at $187 million in 2008 which fell by 71 per cent in 2009 and reached at $20.3 million in 2010 registering another decrease of 63 per cent. The bilateral trade has come down to $30.5 million in 2010 which touched the peak of $202.3 million in 2008. All these figures strongly suggest taking some serious steps to regain the prior level of trade which was much better. Pakistan’s major exports to Bulgaria comprise cotton, manmade staple fibres, plastics and articles thereof, articles of apparel, cereals, optical, photo, technical, medical, etc apparatus. We mostly export raw or semi finished goods to Bulgaria which fetch much little price. We need to study Bulgarian market with special focus on exploring opportunities to export finished goods.
Pakistan imports ships, boats, manmade staple fibres, inorganic chemicals, precious metal compound, isotopes, tobacco and manufactured tobacco substitutes, machinery etc from Bulgaria. Market Intelligence Reports are serving as a good tool to know about the potential areas where Pakistan can try to take some share. He urged the ambassador to market Pakistan as a lucrative place for Bulgarian investors who can use it as a base for access to Chinese and Indian markets. Moreover, Pakistan offers great opportunities to Bulgarian businessmen to invest in the developing every sector and infrastructure of Pakistan. Bulgaria has very important seaport called Varna. We need to study the opportunities available for us to access the landlocked countries of Europe which are situated in the neighbours of Bulgaria like Serbia and Hungary.