Malaysian High Commissioner Dr Hasrul Sani Mujtabar has said that Malaysia and Pakistan are potential markets and there is a lot of scope to enhance two-way trade.

He was talking to the LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder and Vice President Nasir Saeed here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Former LCCI office-bearers and Executive Committee Members were also present on the occasion. The High Commissioner urged Pakistani businessmen to be more aggressive in terms of business activities in Malaysia to compete with other competitive markets in this era of globalization. He advised the Pakistani business community to actively participate in international conventions scheduled to be held in Malaysia in forthcoming months.

"Pakistan is a very potential market," the High Commissioner said, adding that doing business in country like Pakistan is always very profitable. LCCI Senior Vice President Almas Hyder said that Pakistan and Malaysia are members of OIC and the Commonwealth. Both countries have been maintaining excellent diplomatic relations with each other since 1957. He said that Malaysia has attained remarkable growth in almost all fields of life and has become a role model for many Islamic countries to follow.

Almas Hyder said that Malaysia has set a unique benchmark by way of successfully launching its own model of ‘modernization with indigenization. He said that technological base of Malaysia is strong which was resulted due to enhancing the quality of technical and vocational education.

“We must avail the opportunities of knowledge sharing and streamlining our education system with the help of Malaysian experts”, the LCCI Senior Vice President added.

He said that Malaysia and Pakistan signed a Free Trade Agreement in January 2008 but it has yet to prove useful to both of us. We already have the platform which must be utilized for a win-win situation.

Talking about declining trade trend between two countries, Almas Hyder say that we need to take immediate steps to regain that level of bilateral which went as high as dollar 2.97 billion in 2011. In 2014, the level of bilateral trade further dipped to dollar 1.51 billion from dollar 2.12 billion in 2013. The balance of trade has been in favour of Malaysia and over the last five years this gap is constantly closing.

He said that main reason of this fall was drastic decrease in import of palm oil from Malaysia which used to be around dollar 2.12 billion in 2011 and by 2014 it contracted to dollar half a billion.

He said that Pakistan’s exports to Malaysia have been ranging in between dollar 200-240 million during 2011 to 2014. There must be some advantage given to Pakistan of the said FTA. He said that Pakistan produces good quality and affordable agricultural products. For example Pakistani rice, oranges and mangoes are in great demand in Malaysian markets.