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Turkish businessmen ready to invest in Pakistan - Salman - 06-16-2012 01:09 PM

Turkish businessmen ready to invest in Pakistan

* Convinced of opportunities in energy, textile and construction sectors

Staff Report

LAHORE: Turkish businessmen are ready to initiate joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts as they are convinced that ample opportunities exist in a number of sectors in Pakistan including energy, textile and construction.

This was stated by Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) President Dr Akkan Suver and Turkish Industrial Association (TUMSIAD) President Ersin CENTIN while talking to a 37-member Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) delegation headed by LCCI President Irfan Qaiser Sheikh.

Former LCCI senior vice presidents Engineer Sohail Lashari and Tahir Javaid Malik also spoke on the occasion. Dr Suver said that the foremost purpose of the DEIK is to pave the way for economic, commercial, industrial and financial relations with foreign countries as well as international business communities. “DEIK believes that increasing industrial cooperation, widening the foreign trade network and opening the Turkish service sector up to the global economy are essential in achieving this target.”

The DEIK president said that Turkey for being second fastest growing economy of the world after China and first in the European Union has a lot to offer to their Pakistani counterparts and they should avail the available opportunities. They also called for more frequent exchange of business delegations so that both the sides could have first hand knowledge of the available opportunities in Pakistan and Turkey. They said that both the countries have marvellous untapped business potential that needs to be realized by maximizing the involvement of private sectors of the two countries. He hoped that the economic relation between the two countries would strengthen further to create a win-win situation for Pakistan and Turkey.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI president said the time has come that the businessmen of both the countries should enhance their bilateral relations, which will be beneficial for the people of both the countries. He said that in 1980 the Turkish exports were $ 4 billion while Pakistan’s were $3.81 billion and today Turkey is exporting goods worth $114 billion while Pakistan’s total exports are just $25 billion and Turkey has become 16th strongest economy of the world. He said, “We can strengthen our economy by adopting the development and progress of Turkey as model.”

“Since energy is an important issue for Pakistan’s economic growth and Turkey has vast experience of exploiting hydro and other energy sources, both the countries should cooperate in this area on priority basis.”

“If we talk about the existing trade and economic potential between Turkey and Pakistan, it can be safely said that so far we have only explored it like the tip of the iceberg. The amount of our two way trade itself speaks to a great volume as it has been averaging around $655 millions from the last three years.” “The last year trade figures have been encouraging in a way that the bilateral first time reached to $800 million. The exports increased from $407 million to $644 million, registering 58 percent increase over the previous year. However, imports from Turkey also increased in the same period from $152 million (2009) to $156 million (2010) but the change was merely 2.6 percent.”

Although the balance of trade has been in favour of Pakistan but in true sense, this favourable situation is not drawing many benefits to both the countries. In order to make most of international trade, Turkey and Pakistan should identify areas of economic cooperation in sectors like textiles with special focus on fashion apparel as Pakistan’s fashion industry has remarkably progressed. Others include leather & footwear, fresh fruits, sports goods and surgical items etc.

Likewise, Pakistan can identify various items with the help of Turkish exporters, which can be imported from Turkey. As Pakistan is pursuing economic development through market liberalisation, so, Turkish entrepreneurs are invited to establish a special economic zone for Turkey in Pakistan and enter into joint ventures with us. Turkey is well positioned to take advantage of Pakistan’s economic potential and its geo-strategic location. “Let us make trade and investment, the central pillar of this cooperation.” Some analysts presume that the trade volume between Turkey and Pakistan can be increased as high as $2 billion with some joint efforts made by public and private sectors of both the countries. For that matter, bilateral arrangements and early implementation of regional trade agreements such as the ECO Trade Agreement have become the need of the hour. Sheikh said that the LCCI was taking immediate and concrete steps to enhance the volume of trade between the two countries from existing $663 million to dollar two billions. He said that to achieve the target at first place focused and collaborative efforts need to be made. He said that strong linkage would be established with Turkish businessmen for having market access to Europe, North Africa and Middle East. The LCCI president said that the LCCI through its own efforts was continuously working on an agenda of closer cooperation between Turkey and Pakistan. To supplement these efforts, we have established Turkey – Pakistan Business Council by signing an agreement with Foreign Economic Relations Board, Turkey. The LCCI president said that time has come for making social, cultural and economic alliances to overcome the challenges. He hoped that the delegation’s visit would pave the way for enhanced volume of bilateral trade between the two countrie