Australian Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan visits Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Karachi: Mr. Ric Smith, the Australian Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan visited the Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) to review business relationship between Australia and Pakistan and to gauge the overall economic and investment environment in the country.
The delegation included H.E. Mr. Tim George – Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ms. Nicola Rosenblum – First Secretary and Mr. Jon Merril – Assistant Secretary, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The meeting was attended by members of the Managing Committee of OICCI, Asif Jooma, Asif Saad, Mohammad Zubair and the Secretary General, M. Abdul Aleem.
Secretary General updated the delegation on the current state of the economy, especially the perspective of foreign investors and talked about the significant role of OICCI in creating a conducive business environment. He stated that OICCI works hand in hand with the Government of Pakistan (GoP) to improve the business and investment landscape and assists the GoP in timely removal of impediments to FDI and economic growth.
“The economy has done fairly well in 2010-11 despite the devastating floods and has registered a 2.4% growth in its GDP. Record level of exports supported by substantially increased inward remittances has helped improve the Balance of Payments and Foreign Exchange reserves in the country. However, more needs to be done in controlling inflation and energy shortages to the industry. The Australian delegation can assist by creating awareness about Pakistan amongst the Australian business community and help exploit opportunities beyond the traditional sectors leading to increased level of trade and investment with Pakistan.”
Mr. Ric Smith appreciated the overall investment climate in Pakistan and added that based on his extensive experience, focus on promoting regional trade and contacts with the business community is going to help in promoting economies of countries in the South Asian region. He assured his support to assist Pakistan in promoting a positive image to attract additional investment and trade. Mr. Smith stressed on the need to market Pakistan’s positives aggressively and appreciated efforts made by platforms such as the OICCI in this regard.
While stressing on the need to improve trade between the two countries, OICCI team informed that, “The two-way trade between Australia and Pakistan at $ 703 million is low and can increase substantially if Australia increases imports from Pakistan which currently stand at only 8% of Australia’s total imports from India”. OICCI also stressed on the need to improve Pakistan’s image amongst the Australian business community and offered its complete assistance in playing a positive role towards improving business relations with Australia.
OICCI represents over 180 foreign companies doing business in Pakistan, many of whom began operations in Pakistan over 60 years ago. OICCI is the oldest chamber in the country and region having been established 150 years ago. OICCI members collectively contribute over 29 percent towards Pakistan’s total GNP, 22 percent of total tax receipts, provide direct employment to approximately 150,000 people and spend Rs 1 bn a year on CSR. OICCI also plays an active role in terms of representation and advocacy to the government, various regulatory bodies, and policy makers.
For more information, contact:
Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI)
Chamber of Commerce Building, Talpur Road, P.O. Box 4833,
Karachi – 74000, Pakistan
Tel: +9221 3241 0814 -15
Fax: +9221 3242 7315
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