Pakistan hopes for $1b exports to UAE


Pakistani exporters can easily double their food exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from a present $ 500 million to $ 1 billion because the Gulf country needs all kinds of edibles, ranging from fresh vegetables to meat to frozen food, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan said.
Around 30 exhibitors are representing the country at the food exhibition in UAE. Out of these, 23 companies are participating under the banner of the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), which promotes trade and investment for the country.
“Last year, our exhibitors got reasonably good orders and that’s why we reached a level of almost $ 500 million exports to the UAE,” Khan said during his visit to Pakistan’s pavilion at the exhibition.
“We feel our exporters have much larger potential and that could take them from the current level of $ 500 million to $ 1 billion easily because this country imports food items worth more than 5 billion,” he added.
Business Monitor International (BMI) predicted that there will be a 5.3 percent increase in food consumption this year in the UAE. However, total food consumption of the country is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 6.2 percent to reach a value of 37.5 billion dhirams in 2017, BMI added. According to estimates, Gulf countries import more than 250,000 tonnes of meat, with 100,000 tonnes of this being imported from Australia alone. So there is a large scope for Pakistan to increase exports to the UAE and other GCC nations, Khan said.
“Our exporters can take the advantage of being one of the closest countries,” he added. The ambassador said Pakistan’s foodstuff exports to GCC countries already touched the level of $ 1 billion in 2012. He said there is tough competition in the market, so Pakistani exporters should update their machinery and packaging to make their products competitive. On-time delivery is also very important in addition to other things, he added. Among foodstuff, poultry products is one of the important import items to the UAE as the country is expected to import around 120,000 tonnes poultry products this year, compared to around 79,000 tonnes in 2008, he said.
More importantly, food security is one of the top agendas of GCC leaders and because of that, the demand for food items will continue to rise in the region, Khan added.
Another area of interest, he said, is in re-export. The UAE is the region’s top and most important market in terms of re-exports. “Whatever is imported in this country, 65 percent of it is re-exported. I believe there would be potential for our people in this segment,” Khan added.


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