KARACHI: Diplomats from various countries have underscored the need to improve perceptions about Pakistan to attract maximum number of foreign investors in massive investment opportunities available in Pakistan, particularly Karachi, a press release said.
Exchanging views at a breakfast meeting hosted by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in a local hotel, the dignitaries said foreign investors from their respective countries were keen to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan but a negative perception, excessive paper-work and red-tapism were hindering foreign direct investment in the country.
They also advised the business and industrial community of Karachi to diversify their exports as staying confined mostly to textile exports would not yield the desired results.
The meeting was attended by diplomats from United States, Switzerland, Turkey and Germany. President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik and other senior officials of the chamber also attended meeting.
US Senior Commercial Officer Steve Knode said that the trade ties between the two countries have been improving and today, the volume stands at an all-time high.
“I have seen lot of positive things and I will encourage US companies to take benefit of prospective opportunities in Pakistan”, he added.
He informed the participants that the US has changed its global Travel Alert System in which countries around the world have been placed at different levels keeping in view their security situation. Pakistan was currently at Level 3 whereas some areas in the country were at Level 4 due to security concerns.
“Level 1 means that the country or area is completely safe to travel”, he explained and hoped that Pakistan’s status improves further in the system.
Consul General of Switzerland Philippe Crevoisier advised KCCI to hold maximum interaction with their counterparts in Switzerland in order to improve the existing trade and investment ties between the two countries, the press release stated.
Although potential exists but efforts must be made to improve the perception and image of Pakistan so that the potential could be transformed into a success story, he added.
Consul-General of Turkey Tolga Ucak said that the business communities of Pakistan and Turkey must seek ways and means of enhancing trade and investment cooperation.
Vice Consul of Consulate General of Germany Vogel Ingolf pointed out that Germany holds many trade and investment exhibitions throughout the year hence, the business and industrial community of Karachi Chamber should attend these exhibitions which would surely bring the business communities more close to each other.
In his remarks, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, while referring to Pakistan’s existing trade ties with US, Germany, Switzerland and Turkey, stressed the need to exchange more trade delegations between the two countries in order to further improve the existing trade relations.
In this regard, the Karachi Chamber plans to send its delegations to US and European Union countries in the second half of current calendar year to look for more trade and investment opportunities.
He informed the Diplomats that Karachi, which is the economic hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to Foreign Investors.
Referring to two Special Economic Zones being established on priority in Karachi under CPEC project, he stressed the foreign investors should take interest in these economic zones where they can enjoy tax holiday for up to 10 years which is phenomenal, along with many other benefits, particularly the One-Window Operation Facility.
“CPEC is a game changer project which will lead to improved regional economic integration and transform Pakistan into a Central and South Asian economic hub”, Muffasar Malik said, “Foreign investors have started showing keen interest in Pakistan and I am confident that CPEC will bring in a paradigm shift in the business and industrial scenario of the entire region, hence foreign investors must also take advantage of the situation by either investing or undertaking joint ventures in CPEC-related projects.”