ISLAMABAD - Minister for Commerce Pervaiz Malik on Tuesday offered Canadian investors to exploit the attractive trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan and sought greater market access for its products from Canada.

He stated this while talking to Canadian Minister for International Trade, Francois-Philippe Champagne and Minister for Immigration Ahmed Hussen here, says a press release received here from Ottawa, Canada.

The minister informed the Canadian counterpart that under WTO, Pakistan is looking for level playing field for export of its goods to Canadian market and issues like, travel advisory for visit to Pakistan and visa restrictions for Pakistani businessmen are hampering bilateral trade. He urged for immediate removal of these irritants in order to enhance bilateral trade volume. The minister added that Pakistan’s Investment Policy, characterized by liberalization, de-regulation and privatization, is one of the most liberal in the region and provides a conducive environment for attracting FDI.

He highlighted manifold increase in foreign direct investment (FDI) in energy and infrastructure projects under CPEC and international investments in automobile, telecom, manufacturing and tourism industry in Pakistan.

Minister Malik underlined that Pakistan meets the priority of Canada’s foreign trade in consumer products, industrial machinery, ICTG, infrastructure, mining, oil and gas, clean technologies, agriculture and education sectors.

He said that with over 200 million consumers market and large booming middle class, Pakistan is a promising market for Canadian goods, services and investment. In his remarks, Champagne expressed his gratitude to the commerce minister for accepting the invitation to hold trade dialogue in Ottawa. He said that Canada would like to increase the trade volume between the two countries and all practical steps would be taken to enhance cooperation in the areas of mutual interest.

The minister added that Canada also seeks to enhance relations with emerging economies and partners in Asia and Pakistan certainly provides opportunity for Canadian investors to benefit from increasing demand of consumer goods and services. The Canadian minister for immigration briefed the commerce minister about the steps being taken to ease visa processing for Pakistani businessmen, students and tourists. He said that Pakistan has great potential and Canada would like to ease and facilitate visa processing for all categories in order to increase people to people ties.

The two sides agreed to hold high powered joint working group meeting in Islamabad during March 2018 to remove the hurdles in enhancing bilateral trade and to engage meaningfully to develop partnership in economic, trade, agriculture and investment sectors.