FAISALABAD - Ambassador of Algeria in Pakistan said that Pakistan and his country enjoy excellent political relations but their economic relations are not satisfactory, saying that his visit to the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry aims to strengthen bilateral trade ties by establishing direct contact with the business community.
Addressing the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry members on Saturday, Dr Ahmed Benflis said that his was basically oil exporting country and most of their imports are from the EU and France. Some of these countries are indirectly exporting textile products to Algeria also, he said.
He noted, “Pakistan is in deep energy crisis and we could help our brotherly country by increasing exports of Liquefied Natural Gas. Similarly, Pakistani businessmen should explore the opportunities and export of rice and textile products directly to Algeria . There are only two Pakistan businessmen hailing from Karachi and we need to expand our business ties by exploiting all our available channels.” He also invited the Pakistani businessmen to visit Algeria and have meetings with their counterparts of this brotherly country.
To a question about visa, he said that three month-visa is issued within four days which could be further extended very easily on recommendation of the FCCI. He said that an international exhibition would be held in June this year in Algeria and hoped that Pakistani businessmen would avail this opportunity by taking part in this exhibition and introducing their products there.
He said that a number of agreements were signed between trade bodies of both the countries in the past but these were not really implemented.
Earlier, in his welcome address, FCCI President Mian Zahid Aslam said that Pakistan and Algeria had always enjoyed extremely cordial and friendly relations. There is tremendous trade potential between the two brotherly countries, he said and added there was an excellent opportunity for Pakistani entrepreneurs to collaborate in different sectors with the Algeria’s.
He said that Algeria is Pakistan’s important trading partner but still  trade volume between both the countries was negligible if taking account of trade volume of Algeria  as US$ 124 billion in 2012. He continued that in year 2011 bilateral trade between Algeria and Pakistan stood at US $ 27 million. Algeria exported US$ 1.15 million goods to our country while Pakistan’s exports stood at US$ 26 million, he detailed.
He stated that Pakistan’s major exports to Algeria are cotton, cereals, man-made staple fibers, articles of leather, animal gut, harness, travel goods, articles of apparel, accessories and knit or crochet while imports from Algeria’s are pulp of wood, fibrous cellulose material, waste, precious metal compound, isotopes, organic and inorganic chemicals.
“There are vast prospects of expansion of bilateral trade including joint venture in Textile, agro-based industry, leather goods, oil and gas and IT. Algeria has a great potential market for Pakistani products especially Pakistani textile and textile products having great demand in Algeria . However, due to prolonged energy deficit in Pakistan, power sector offers great investment potential in hydro projects and alternative energy sources. Pakistan government’s policies are also relaxed for remittance of whole profit in foreign currency,” he added.
The chamber chief said that by enhancing direct contacts between private sectors of both the countries and facilitating them in their efforts, Pakistan and Algeria have the potential to increase trade manifold. The FCCI and Embassy of Algeria in Pakistan should act as bridge for connecting the business communities of both the countries through exchange of trade delegations on reciprocal basis, single-country exhibition and signing of Pak-Algeria trade agreement.
FCCI Vice President Ch Muhammad Boota, former president Abdul Qayyum Sheikh, Algerian Trade Counselor Abdur Rahim, Zeeshan Umer, Muhammad Asghar, Jamil Ahmed, Shahid Mumtaz Bajwa, Ehsan Malik and Sheikh Muhammd Khalid Habib shared their views.