ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Federal Minister for Commerce, Textile and Industry Production, Mian Misbah-ur-Rehman Thursday suggested that Qatar could procure goods and services from Pakistan for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, scheduled to be held in Qatar in year 2022.
“As Qatar is preparing for hosting FIFA World Cup 2022, substantial scope exists for procurement of goods and services from Pakistan,” the minister said while addressing Pakistan-Qatar Business Conference on Thursday.
The conference is being participated by businessmen belonging to different sectors of economy from Qatar and Pakistan to explore ways and means for enhancing trade cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
The minister also suggested for formation of a joint working group on trade and investment for regular interaction.
The minister was of the view that although trade between the two countries witnessed considerable growth, however it was mostly in favour of Qatar.
He said that Pakistan’s exports to Qatar have shown an increase of 80 percent in 2017-18 but in value terms, its was only an increase of US$37 million.
He said that due to import of LNG, trade deficit of Pakistan with Qatar has increased to US$1.6 billion as imports have jumped by 47 percent in financial year 2017-18 when compared to the same period of FY2016-17.
“I believe that we should accept this as a challenge and work together towards achieving it,” he said and invited Qatar to invest in Agriculture, food-processing and petro-chemical industry in Pakistan.
He said that although it was the government’s job to provide for a trade facilitative and business conducive environment, it were the private sector players who were the true engines of growth for international trade and investment.
He expressed the hope that this conference would provide driving force to promote Business to Business interactions and public-private partnerships between the two side.
Speaking on the occasion, Qatar Minister of Economy and Commerce, Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani said that the joint trade and investment relationship between Pakistan and Qatar gained considerable momentum back in year 2012.
He said that currently there were about 851 companies jointly owned by Pakistanis and Qataris operating in Qatar in various fields of economy.
He expressed the hope that the current business conference would pave way for many mutual agreements that would be beneficial for both the countries.
He said that Qatar had to suffered challenges including illegal blockade that was imposed on it in 2016, however added that it had come out safe. He said that Qatar was open to Pakistani investors who would be welcomed to invest in different sectors, particularly in Hamad Sea port.—NNI