Pakistan faces $6.2 billion trade deficit with UAE: FPCCI

News Desk
Thursday, Mar 30, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the sixth largest export destination of Pakistani products but in total trade of $8.545 billion, Pakistan is facing a trade deficit of $6.204 billion with the UAE, FPCCI acting president Muhammad Suleman Chawla said on Wednesday.

He said that in a meeting with Advisor Ministry of Human Resource and Emiratisation, UAE, Saeed Alhebsi who visited the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) for a meeting with the business community.

In his welcome address, Chawla said despite being the sixth largest export destination of Pakistani products, the trade deficit with the UAE was $6.204 billion. Overall trend in the bilateral trade was showing an increase which is encouraging for both countries, he mentioned.

Highlighting Pakistan’s potential he said, “Pakistan has several characteristics that make it an attractive market for multinational firms, particularly those in the fast-moving consumer goods sector.”

Pakistan, located at an ideal geo-strategic and geographical position, has more than 1000KM coastal line with three important ports, Karachi, Port Muhammad Bin Qasim, and the strategic port of Gwadar. The Gwadar port ensures the success of China–Pakistan Economic Corridor and the port is a beginning point of Belt and Road Initiative where nearly 68 countries are linked, according to FPCCI official.

Chawla highlighted that Pakistan is the world's largest producer of salt, halal meat and other halal products, largest user of cotton, largest producer and also exporter of fruits and vegetable, fifth in the reserves of copper, fifth largest producer of milk, rice producer, and offering tremendous opportunities for joint ventures and investment.

“The investment in the Pakistani agriculture sector will ensure food security in the UAE,” he said. During the meeting, Saeed Alhebsi identified some of the priority sectors with substantial potential for joint venture and investment exist, including agriculture and food processing, logistics, textile, automobile, information technology, housing and construction, tourism, energy and renewable energy. Amin Ullah Baig, vice president of FPCCI, was of the view that Pakistan is an investment-friendly nation in South Asia and has excellent infrastructure with liberalised investment policies offering a high rate of returns.

“Foreign investment is fully protected under Investment Promotion and Protection Act 1976, and also secured under the Protection of Economic Reform Act 1992. Equal treatment to local and foreign investors, all sectors are open to FDI [foreign direct investment], foreign equity up to 100 percent, remittance of royalty, fees, and profits, and borrowing facilities from foreign and local bank,” he said.

Umar Masood ur Rehman from FPCCI told the delegation that industrial clusters could be established throughout the country by public sector entities, public-private collaboration, or solely by the private sector.

“The fiscal benefits under the special economic zones law include a one-time exemption from custom duties and taxes for all capital goods imported into Pakistan for the development, operations and maintenance of a special economic zone, including exemption from all taxes,” he said.

Masood ur Rehman further stated that a close interaction between the chambers, honorary investment counselors, and foreign missions was being strengthened.

Mirza Abdul Rehman, chairman coordination FPCCI capital office, highlighted different otential areas for investment in Pakistan, saying both countries had great scope to promote trade in many areas. “Gilgit Baltistan region, KP, Punjab, Sindh, Azad Kashmir in Pakistan has great opportunities for the exchange of tourism.”

He further stated that UAE investors needed avail the opportunity of the CPEC project, tourism, hoteling, hydro, construction, infrastructure development, and other sectors. “Pakistan’s huge natural resources can be utilised for the enhancement of bilateral trade relations,” he emphasised.