TOKYO

Pakistan and Japan enjoy cordial bilateral relations which have grown significantly over the years to the mutual benefit of both the countries. Japan’s economic assistance has helped much in the development of Pakistan’s economic and social infrastructure.

This was stated by Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar while addressing Japanese businessmen at Investment Seminar organized by Japan External Trade Organization JETRO and co-sponsored by Board of Investment here Wednesday.

Dar said that though Japanese auto sector accounts for about ninety five percent in the four-wheeled vehicle market and has a great positive influence on Pakistan’s economy but bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and Japan has been stagnant for the past five years. It was also heavily in favour of Japan which needs to be addressed through initiating negotiations for Early Harvest Program of FTA.  

Finance Minister said that huge potential exists to further strengthen economic ties between Pakistan and Japan as Pakistan offers a big market for investment in energy, automobile, textile, surgical equipment, infrastructure, engineering, agriculture and SMEs. Pakistan also needs Japanese technical assistance and investment in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, thermal and biogas. He hoped that the Japanese companies will tap the potential and will be excited to explore some of these areas for their future investments.

Pakistan is an upcoming emerging market. Many multi-national enterprises made profits in recent years. This has encouraged other enterprises to expand their investments in Pakistan. The World Bank has projected that the investment growth rate in Pakistan, which declined for several years in the past, is projected to rise during 2014-16.

Finance Minister said that Pakistan has one of the most liberal foreign investment regimes in South Asia. 100% foreign equity is permitted in the manufacture and infrastructure sectors as the country has a market-oriented economy, with a rapidly growing private sector. Pakistan has a very dynamic market and a large consumer base. There is great potential in the power, infrastructure and natural resource sectors. There is also scope for investment in hydel and coal based power projects. Furthermore, there is a need for world class education system and mechanization of industries that, if exploited efficiently, can generate wealth for foreign investors.

Finance Minister said Pakistan stands on the verge of a momentous transformation. “Our government is fully committed to harness economy through appropriate policies and strategic vision. The government has a long term development plan aimed at creating a globally competitive and prosperous country, with particular emphasis on achieving macroeconomic stability through inclusive growth” the Minister stated.

He said present government attaches top priority to enhance the performance of the economy for a better Pakistan. Improved infrastructure, good governance, uninterrupted and affordable energy, quality education and health for all are some of the priority areas we are focusing on.

The Finance Minister said the government had made other  important achievements including raising of US$ 2 billion through Eurobond after 7 years; raising of US$ 1 billion through International Sukuk after 9 years; successful auction of 3G-4G licenses. Nearly US$ 1.2 billion were raised and two more licenses are still available for auction.

Then there has been resumption of program lending by World Bank and ADB that has enabled us to access some US$ 1.5 billion from these institutions during the year. He also hinted at construction of terminal at Port Qasim to import LNG, which will likely receive LNG soon.

He said that PML (N) government would welcome the initiative of establishing Japan Specific Economic Zones and will facilitate the establishment of entrepreneurship in all respects. He assured the Japanese investors that Government of Pakistan will extend every possible help and facilitation to materialize the Investment Initiatives. He directed Board of Investment to facilitate the investors and take every possible initiative to facilitate the Japanese investors.

The Seminar was attended by over 250 Japanese businessmen, besides Mr Hiroyuki Ishige, Chairman JETRO, Mr. Miftah Ismail, Chairman Board of Investment and Pakistan Embassy officials in Tokyo.