British companies keen to do business in Pakistan despite challenges: High Commissioner

Karachi, May 21, 2014 (PPI-OT): John Anthony Tucknott, British Deputy High Commissioner has said that many British companies are willing to do business in Pakistan and want to undertake joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts despite various challenges, of which the most pressing issue is the security situation of the country.

Speaking at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber on Wednesday, British Deputy High Commissioner, while underscoring the need to effectively deal with these security threats, assured full cooperation and support of the British government to restore peace which is the only way forward for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan. “We can assist Pakistan in building a secure and stable future”, he added.

Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairman BMG Anjum Nisar, President KCCI Abdullah Zaki, Senior Vice President KCCI Muffasar A. Malik, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, Chairman Diplomatic Affairs Sub-Committee KCCI Abdul Jabbar Dalal, Former Presidents KCCI A. Q. Khalil and Majyd Aziz were also present on the occasion.

British Deputy High Commissioner, John Anthony Tucknott said that UK was striving hard and looking for ways and means of how achieve the target of £3 billion bilateral trade by 2015, which was not an easy task keeping in view the slow pace of growth. “In order to achieve the challenging target £3 billion, we must make sure that bilateral trade between the two countries grows by 33 percent every year”, he added.

Referring to UK Prime Minster David Cameron’s visit to Pakistan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visits to the United Kingdom, he said that these visits have certainly paved way for further strengthening trade relations between the two countries however, lot more needs to be done.

In this regard, he identified Energy, Infrastructure, Mining, and Security sectors as key areas for undertaking joint ventures which will go in favour of both economies as bilateral trade is a two-way street.

John Tucknott informed that a UK based company will be undertaking a project relating to setting up a Desalination plant in the next few months which will be capable of providing 100 million gallons of potable water per day.

He said that another project for power generation through solid waste will also be initiated in Karachi which will not only help in fulfilling the energy requirements but will also lead to useful disposal of a large quantity of garbage. These projects will provide employment to 4,000 workers during the construction phase.

Responding to a query, British Deputy High Commissioner said that UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in Pakistan helps companies in Britain increase their competitiveness through overseas trade in Pakistan. It also offers professional, authoritative and personalized assistance to help companies in Pakistan locate and expand in the UK.

The British Government, UKTI and other partners are working together to support new business start-ups and growth in Pakistan. UKTI has been providing all the advice, inspiration and practical help businesses need to turn into a working, profitable business, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman of Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI, Siraj Kassam Teli said that Pakistan and United Kingdom have been enjoying goods relations as a number of UK based companies are successfully running their businesses in Pakistan since many decades and UK is second home to a number of Pakistanis.

Siraj Teli was of the view that although trade volume between the two countries has been gradually improving but it was still not reflecting the true potential. Efforts must be made by both sides to substantially improve the existing trade volume in order to effectively achieve the target of £3 billion by 2015.

Referring to KCCI’s My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony Exhibition, BMG Chairman mentioned that since its inception, My Karachi exhibition has been receiving extensive support from all the British Deputy High Commissioners from time to time. He hoped that the current Deputy High Commissioner will also extend similar support to this exhibition scheduled to be staged at Karachi Expo Centre from June 20th to June 22nd, 2014.

Siraj Kassam Teli, while deeply criticizing the negative role played by some biased media, recalled that the entire Karachi city was being portrayed as an extremely insecure city particularly by the western media so KCCI decided to stage My Karachi exhibition in 2004 to promote the positive image of Karachi. This exhibition is regularly being staged and has succeeded in achieving nationwide and international recognition.

He asked British Deputy High Commissioner to help KCCI in clarifying these misconceptions about Karachi city and other areas of Pakistan which offer lucrative business opportunities to UK investors. Earlier, President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki, while welcoming the British Deputy High Commissioner, said that Pakistan and Britain have been enjoying historical, friendly and business relations for last many decades.

Around 200 British companies have invested in Pakistan and the volume of trade with Pakistan has inched higher. He noted that during FY13, exports volume of Pakistan to UK was $1.37 billion as against $1.30 billion in FY12 while Pakistan’s import from UK was recorded at $0.82 billion in FY13 as against $ .69Bn in FY12.

He was of the view that there is a need to develop a platform to share and develop knowledge and encourage exchange of trade and business related information besides actively facilitating B2B linkages. He also appreciated the sincere efforts of British Government in supporting Pakistan to become self-sufficient in every sector of human development.

For more information, contact:
Aamir Hassan
Director Press/ Electronic Media and Public Relations
Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)
Aiwan-e-Tijarat Road, Off Shahrah-e-Liaquat,
Office: +92 99218001-09
Fax: +92 21 99218040

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