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Kuwait ready to ease business visa, Pak Ministry not responding: CG

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KARACHI: President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan presenting crest to Consul General of Kuwait Salem Yousif Al-Hamdan during his visit to KCCI. Senior Vice President Arshad Islam, Vice President Shahid Ismail, Chairman of KCCI's Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Sub-committee Shamoon Zaki and others are also seen in the picture.

KARACHI: Consul General of Kuwait Salem Yousif Al-Hamdan has said that in order to further discuss and devise strategies for easing the issuance of business visas, the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry was ready to hold negotiations and in this regard, Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior had been approached quite some time ago but unfortunately they have not received any response from them so far, says a Press release.
Kuwaiti Consul General, who was speaking at a meeting during his visit to KCCI, informed that around 120 communities were living in Kuwait which was the basic reason why Kuwait has to adopt stringent visa policy which was not just for Pakistanis but also for all the foreigners. “We want to ease issuance of business visa hence, negotiations must take place between the Interior Ministries of the two friendly countries as soon as possible”, he added.
President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President Arshad Islam, Vice President Shahid Ismail, Chairman Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Shamoon Zaki and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.
In response to President KCCI’s remarks about the significance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) who invited Kuwaiti business community invest in numerous CPEC related projects, Kuwaiti Consul General pointed out that it was a very important project which would have a positive impact not only on Pakistan but the entire region.
“To attract the interest of Kuwaiti business community and other investors from the Gulf, we asked the Government of Balochistan to organize a CPEC Conference in Karachi and we will make sure that this conference is attended not only by the Kuwaiti business community but also by other potential investors from the gulf region”, he said, adding that this conference would help in raising awareness about the significance of CPEC project and provide a perfect opportunity to highlight the immense CPEC-related investment opportunities in Pakistan.
Salem Al-Hamdan further mentioned that Kuwait has signed many MoUs with different institutions from all provinces in Pakistan while work on some of these MoUs has already begun and the Kuwaiti Investment Authority was also intending to undertake numerous projects in Pakistan, particularly in Sindh province. Referring to a MoU signed between Kuwait Chamber and Karachi Chamber, he said that both chambers had excellent relations in the past but with the passage of time, some gap has developed as no interaction was taking place between the two institutions.
“Hence, I decided to visit KCCI and will certainly be making efforts to restore communication between Kuwait and Karachi Chambers by playing the role of bridge between the two institutions”, he added.
He said that Pakistan and Kuwait, being brotherly and friendly countries, have been enjoying very old and good relations as many commodities were smoothly being traded while Kuwaitis have very positive sentiments for Pakistanis. “The two countries have good trade ties and many Pakistanis have also been working really hard in different sectors of Kuwaiti economy which is a testimony that we both are true friends”, he added.
Kuwaiti CG was of the opinion that Karachi city, being the financial, trading and industrial center of the Pakistan with two ports, can offer a lot of trade and investment opportunities to Kuwaiti business community but the business communities of both the brotherly countries will have to meet regularly, exchange trade delegations and explore more avenues of trade and investment cooperation.
Earlier, president KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, in his welcome address, stated that Karachi, which is the economic hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for trade, investment and joint ventures to business and industrial community from Kuwait. Karachi city, which contributes more than 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer, is an attractive place for Kuwaiti businessmen, who can surely earn maximum profits by undertaking joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts.
Commenting on economic relations between Pakistan and Kuwait, he said that both countries share cordial and healthy bilateral relations based on cooperation in different economic spheres. “During 2018, Pakistan exported goods worth $172.69 million to Kuwait as against exports of $166.78 million in 2017, showing a growth of 3.54 percent while our imports from Kuwait witnessed a decline of 4.11 percent to $1.40 billion during 2018 as against imports of $1.46 billion in 2017.”
He said that Pakistan possesses investment friendly environment which Kuwaiti businesses can look at as an opportunity to invest in the fields of mining, oil and gas, energy, information technology, infrastructure and construction projects, halal food and SMEs while Pakistan can enhance its agricultural exports of vegetables, shrimps and prawns, textile products, surgical equipment and rice to Kuwait. “Pakistani halal meat has considerable potential to capture Kuwait’s market. With proper marketing strategies and quality compliance, Pakistan can capture greater share in value added meat products”, he added.
He also invited Kuwaiti business community to participate in Karachi Chamber’s forthcoming My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony Exhibition which is scheduled to be held at Karachi Expo Center from April 3rd to 5th, 2020. This exhibition will provide a perfect opportunity to witness the potential of Pakistan’s retail market. The exhibition is attended by almost 1 million visitors whereas many countries have been regularly participating in this show every year.