(January 16, 2019)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said that Pakistan and Turkey are brotherly Muslim countries. Relations between the peoples and the governments of the two countries are based on a common cultural and religious heritage. Both countries unconditionally cooperated with each other at the multilateral forums including at the United Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organization and other relevant forums. Turkey has always supported Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir dispute to be resolved in accordance to the charter of United Nations and both countries stood firm with each other in the time of need.
The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that there is huge trade potential of almost $ 10 billion between both countries while current trade is approx. $ 500 million. In December 2013, EU granted GSP+ status to Pakistan wherein it was expected that Turkey will also do the same, but Turkey proposed FTA between both countries and negotiation started in 2015. A total seven rounds of negotiations have taken place till 2018 wherein both countries are agreed to reduce customs and regulatory duties by 85 percent but the agreement could not completed yet. Government needs to take measures for early signing of FTA and ensure that the agreement must support the purpose of increasing Pakistan’s exports. FPCCI could not play any role due to lack in research and absence of able leadership.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Turkey is comparatively small country with population 80 million but its GDP ranked 7 globally with $ 858 billion in 2016 while Pakistan ranked 40 with GDP of $ 284 billion despite huge population of 210 million people. Turkey’s had exports of $ 143 billion, imports of $199 billion while trade deficit was $ 56 billion in comparison to Pakistan’s exports of $ 21 billion, imports of $ 47 billion and trade deficit of $ 26 billion. Technical support for Lahore Metro Bus project has been provided by Turkey based company which enabled Pakistan to execute this important project of Rs. 30 billion. According to the global index of EoDB, Turkey’s ranking is 43 while Pakistan stands at 136, to increase global trade of Pakistan, the government needs to work for the betterment of ease of doing business in the country.
The Former Minister said that during his recent visit to Turkey the Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed the trade potential and investment opportunities with met with business community of Turkey along with his delegation of Ministers. It is expected that the emotions rich relationship between both countries will uplift the trade and investment relations by starting joint ventures and increased bilateral trade.