Lahore, April 25, 2016 (PPI-OT):The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and British Business Centre (BBC) Monday inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at expansion of trade and economic ties between Pakistan and United Kingdom.
The LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of British Business Centre Malahat Awan signed the MoU on behalf of their respective of organizations. LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed, British High Commissioner Thomas Drew, Provincial Finance Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha and Head of Department for International Development Ben French spoke on the occasion.
Former LCCI Presidents Ijaz Butt, Sohail Lashari, Former Senior Vice President Malik Tahir Javed, former Vice President Shafqat Saeed Piracha, Executive Committee Member Dr. Qurat ul Ain, Mian Rehman Aziz, Abdul Razzaq, Asad Noor Paganwala, Tariq Mahmood, Khurram Lodhi, Salman Basit, Mian Zahid Javed and Adnan Khalid Butt were also present on the occasion.
Basic objective of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is to encourage, promote and facilitate effective cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, technology and related economic and industrial activities by establishing effective communication between member companies of both the organizations with particular reference to the private sector.
Chief Executive Officer of British Business Centre Malahat Awan said that British Business Centre will ensure ease of doing business between the two countries through facilitating the business community. She said that the MoU will help improve collaboration between the two organizations. She said that British Business Centre will give the companies of UK and Pakistan a cost-effective, in-country physical resource to facilitate quick access to the information and expertise necessary to achieve business success.
British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said that the British Business Centre opened earlier this year. It fulfils the commitment, given by Prime Minister Cameron to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, that the United Kingdom Government, with the assistance of the government of Pakistan, would establish a new body in Pakistan to boost bilateral trade and investment between our two countries. He said that the Centre will work throughout the country.
But today’s signing in Lahore is particularly special for us – not just because we do so on the day that we are also celebrating the Queen’s Birthday in Lahore – but because Lahore, and the province of which it is capital. He said that British and Pakistani businesses should be working together here and thriving. It is a message I give here and one I give back in the UK. And this MoU is an important part of it. Through it, the British Business Centre can assistance in opening up the opportunities available to a wide business and audience in the UK.
Provincial Finance Minister Ayesha Gaus Pasha said that Pakistan is one of the biggest and emerging markets of Asia. She said that Punjab is trillion plus economy and it has strong commercial, service and industrial sectors which have a lot of scope for the foreign investors. She also welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and British Business Centre saying that facilitation to the businessmen would certainly give more strength to the business ties between the two countries.
The LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder said that this MOU is a result of close coordination between the LCCI and British High Commission. He said that UK has always been a major trading partner of Pakistan. These facts clearly validate such a strong commercial ties between two countries that UK comes at 1st place among the top export markets in the Europe for Pakistan. With regard to major importing countries to Pakistan from EU, UK takes the 2nd position.
Almas Hyder said that it is good to witness upward trend in both exports and imports between Pakistan and UK. From 2013 to 2014, our exports to UK jumped up from dollar 1.43 billion to dollar 1.66 billion. Similarly, the value of imports from UK also followed the same trend as it rose from dollar 545 million to dollar 600 million in the same period. These positive trends caused the bilateral trade to increase from dollar 1.98 billion to dollar 2.26 billion. We need to maintain this trend.
He said that UK has been contributing a sufficient amount in net flow of foreign investment in Pakistan. We at present are facing number of challenges in attracting new FDI. We want that UK based investors should consider Pakistan for investments. It goes without saying that you can play pivotal role in this regard.
“Pakistan was awarded GSP plus status by European Union Commission which became effective in January 2014 till 2017. We anticipated an increase in Pakistan’s exports to EU roughly to dollar 2 billion per year but it did not happen. We look up towards you to get greater access to European markets”, Almas Hyder added.
The LCCI Vice President Nasir Saeed said that UK is considered second home for Pakistanis in the world. There are many Pakistani students studying in UK based educational institutes. We really value to have scholarship programs offered by UK government like UK Chevening scholarship programs. This also needs to be expanded allowing more students to go for higher studies. Last but not the least, we require to attain modern technology. UK has earned great name in this connection and can play supporting role in transfer of certain technologies.
For more information, contact:
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan