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Pak-Turkiye traders urged to work hard to improve trade

KARACHI: Consul General of Turkiye Cemal Sangu has said although Turkiye and Pakistan have been cooperating in many fields of trade and economy but the existing trade volume was very low which requires very hard work from the business communities of both countries, says Press release.
“We say we are brotherly but it doesn’t reflect in our trade. Keeping in view Pakistan’s and Turkiye’s population of 240 million and 85 million respectively, I can confidently say we have huge potential and opportunities not only in Pakistan but also in Turkiye, hence, the private sector, being the backbone of economy, should come forward to improve trade and economic relations”, he stressed while speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI).
President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, Senior Vice President Altaf A. Ghaffar, Vice President Tanveer Ahmed Barry and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.
Turkish CG, while congratulating the newly elected Office Bearers of KCCI, hoped that the during their tenure, trade relations between Turkiye and Pakistan would deepen further to the deserved level. “Although Turkiye and Pakistan have been enjoying special diplomatic relations since 1947 but if you’ll take a good look at the history, our relations are thousands of years old as Turkiye’s connection in this region started in 9th century”, he added while terming Turkiye-Pakistan as “two countries, one nation” with same culture, religion, values, linguistic and views.
He informed that last year, Turkiye exports stood at around $256 billion which comprised of 55 percent exports to EU countries. “Turkiye’s Customs Union Agreement, which was signed 20 years ago, will be updated this year which would give Turkiye more access to those countries with whom EU has signed FTAs”, he said while advising the business community to bring in semi-processed raw materials to Turkiye which can be processed in Turkiye and exported EU market with zero tax.
He pointed out that Turkish investment in Pakistan stood at around $2.5 billion but it was nothing and needs to be improved. “Turkish companies operating Pakistan have been facing minor issues but the SIFC is working very hard to solve these issues which will certainly encourage other Turkish companies to invest in Pakistan”, he added.
He further mentioned that Arçelik was the only Turkish company which has established a R&D center in Pakistan which was very crucial as although many other foreign companies were also operating in Pakistan but none of them have neither brought R&D nor transferred technology to Pakistan.
“Arçelik has invested almost $800 million in Pakistan since 2016 and has not remitted anything outside Pakistan as whatever they earn is reinvested in Pakistan, which clearly shows the real brotherhood between the two countries”, he said and hinted that a Turkish Company was also interested in coming to Pakistan for setting up solar panel production unit.
Identifying the potential sectors for Turkish investment, he mentioned that there was a huge potential in the dairy and meat sectors as Pakistan, despite producing high-quality milk, has been able to process only 3 percent of milk. This was an area where business communities of both countries can look into the possibility of undertaking joint ventures.
Underscoring the need to impart high-quality education to Pakistani youth, he said, “We are trying our best in the field of education. We have 28 Pak-Turk Model Schools all over Pakistan where 30,000 students are being provided high-quality education. We are also providing comprehensive scholarship and last year, 168 scholarships were provided to Pakistani students.
Earlier, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, while welcoming the Turkish CG, stated that Pakistan’s exports to Turkiye stood at around $323 million in FY23 which was below potential and needs to be enhanced to a reasonable level. “Given Pakistan’s strategic location, having a GDP of $339 billion, and a vibrant young population, significant investment prospects await Turkish investors in various sectors such as Islamic Finance, halal food, energy, affordable housing, agriculture, infrastructure development, telecommunications and education”, he added.
He noted that although both countries were desirous to have a sustainable and long-lasting FTA but it was yet to materialize. “The potential benefits of a swift conclusion to the FTA talks are immense, which can boost the existing volume of bilateral trade”, he opined, adding that under FTA negotiations, sizeable tariff concessions should be given to Pakistan’s value-added export products.
He was of the opinion that SIFC and CPEC were effective tools to stimulate domestic and foreign investments, besides being essential ingredients for sustainable economic growth. “Turkish companies can explore Joint Ventures in SEZs under the CPEC, which can further strengthen our economic relations.”
He also stressed the need to establish institutional linkages between Pakistani and Turkish universities to cement relations in the field of education, which would help in improving the quality of education and research of Pakistani universities.