Prime Minister urges local, foreign investors take full advantage of vast opportunities for FDI, joint ventures

Karachi: Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani inaugurating 3day United Arab Emirates UAE EXPO 2011 at Expo Centre, Karachi Wednesday urged local and foreign investors to take full advantage of vast opportunities for foreign direct investment, joint ventures in infrastructure development, power generation, agri-based industries, insurance, real estate.

In his address, he said Pakistan has huge market of around 180 million people, resilient economic fundamentals despite heavy odds it faced during floods, war on terror, has unique geostrategic location and gateway to South & East Asia & Middle East. Pakistan offers liberal trade, investment climate, blessed with talented, hardworking manpower, rich mineral resources and plentiful agriculture production.

“Pakistan enjoys deep, cordial ties with UAE in almost all fields and last 40 years seen their strengthening and diversification. We were first country to accord recognition to UAE after it attained independence in 1971,” he noted. The presence of business community, national, multinational companies executives, professionals in such large number shows their passion, commitment to further strengthen trade, people-to-people relations between Pakistan & UAE.

He said UAE EXPO 2011, also marks celebration of 40 years of brotherly, friendly ties between Pakistan & UAE, characterized by religious, cultural, fraternal bonds and close geographical proximity. Late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Founder of modern UAE, laid foundation of these exemplary relations. He was great friend of Pakistan and stood by its people during challenging times. These ties now enjoy patronage of President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Pakistani people greatly cherish his contributions, services and hold him in high esteem, Gilani observed.

“We can’t forget generous humanitarian assistance from UAE government and people during earthquake and floods. US$100 million project for reconstruction of infrastructure damaged by devastating floods, natural calamities in Khyber Pakhtunkhawa province, Bajaur, South Waziristan are examples of close ties of President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed with Pakistan. Education, public health, roads, bridges, water treatment plants are major focus of project being completed by UAE cooperation.”

He said UAE has open economy with high per capita income, sizeable annual trade surplus, its Free Trade Zones offer 100% foreign ownership, zero taxes. After Hong Kong, Singapore, UAE ranked as third most important re-export centre in the world. UAE is one of biggest foreign investor in Pakistan after USA & UK in energy, telecommunications, real estate, aviation, banking. UAE is largest investor in Pakistan among Gulf Cooperation Council states. About 1.4 million Pakistani expatriates in UAE contribute remittances of over $1 billion annually. Pakistan supplies quality food items to UAE. Pakistani businessmen operate units in UAE FTZs.

Those who attended mega event were Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan, Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, UAE Foreign Trade Minister Sheikh Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Faheem, large number of local, foreign investors and businessmen.

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