KARACHI - High Commissioner of Australia Peter Heyward stated that Pakistan and Australia have cordial political relationship. However, bilateral trade is not aligned with the existing trade potential between the two countries.

During his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry he explained Pakistan-Australia Joint Trade Committee (JTC) meetings were held alternatively in Australia and Pakistan. Last year JTC’s meeting was held in Australia while the next meeting will be held in Islamabad after newly-elected government assumes charge.

He said Australia’s assistance to Pakistan includes support for basic health care and education, he informed that to evolve business dispute resolution mechanism, KCCI should contact its Australian counterparts.

He was of the view that to practically explore the existing bilateral trade and investment potential, research by both countries is essential. Impediments in enhancing trade are lack of information, confidence and trust.

The privates sectors on both sides have to play their role in this regard. Australia has the biggest mining industry and the Australian companies are operating throughout the world. Several companies are also operating in Pakistan. To attract the Australian investment in mining, safety & security, licencing, flexible taxation and local contracts arrangements is imperative.

Mining requires multi-billion dollars investment, hence need a lot of due-diligence. Australia can help in technical and vocational education training to produce skilled human resource. Pakistan can benefit from Australian expertise in clean energy resources and green environment friendly technology.

He appreciated the vital role of KCCI in the socio-economic development of Pakistan and to promote trade and industry in Karachi and elsewhere. Former President, Majyd Aziz, Senior Vice President KCCI Shamim Firpo, Vice President Nasir Mehmood and Managing Committee Members also participated in the meeting.

While exchanging views High Commissioner President KCCI Muhammad Haroon Agar said that signing and implementation of Pakistan-Australia Bilateral Investment Treaty will open new avenues of economic and commercial cooperation.

He stated that to enhance reciprocal trade, KCCI can sign MoU with Australian counterpart for mutual cooperation. There is a dire need to enhance people to people contact, exchange of business delegation. He said that Pakistan exports to Australia in Jan-Jun 2012 were around $103 million while the imports were around $183 million. Pakistan’s main exports to Australia are textiles, apparels, cereals, articles of leather etc. whereas main imports are dairy products, livestock, fruits, vegetables, fertilizers, etc.

He stressed upon the need on time-bound targets to making progress on Pakistan-Australia Joint Trade Committee (JTC) which was established under the bilateral trade agreement in 1990 to augment commercial and economic links between two countries progress on bilateral investment treaty.