KUALA LUMPUR : Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia Shahid Masroor Gul Kiani has said the Malaysian companies are seriously looking to explore business and investment opportunities in Pakistan. “We have spent the last few weeks holding a series of talks with the Malaysian trade officials and the captains of various industries and the response to our offer to them to visit Pakistan and explore possibilities for joint ventures and business collaborations has been extremely positive,” he said.
while commenting on the announcement by the Malaysian government to send a delegation of 30 Malaysian companies to participate in the Expo Pakistan 2013 to be held later this year.
The High Commissioner welcomed the participation of MATRADE in Expo Pakistan and assured Malaysian companies of the immense business potential of Pakistan in various sectors especially in the wake of signing of a Free Trade Agreement between two countries effective since January 2008. “The b2b sessions during the event would allow Malaysian businessmen to weigh potential deals with their Pakistani counterparts,” he said, adding “the Government of Pakistan would provide fool-proof security to all foreign visitors including Malaysians”. Last year, the Malaysian delegation was the biggest of all foreign contingents signalling the interest of Malaysian companies to realize the full benefits of the FTA, he added.
The High Commissioner’s statement followed a news report carried by Malaysia’s news agency Bernama which quoted Malaysia’s Trade official Noraslan Hadi Abdul Kadir as saying the Malaysian businessmen were set to explore business and investment opportunities in Pakistan given an openness and vast scope for joint ventures, particularly in the halal food and refineries, in the country.
“Pakistan is strong in agriculture, such as basmati rice, mango and seafood and offers more potential in expanding seafood exports,” said Noraslan Hadi Abdul Kadir in a recent interview focusing on the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia.
He said Pakistan businesses were open to joint ventures, especially for refineries. “They import a lot of palm oil and there is a huge demand for refinery business and Pakistan wants to tap Malaysia’s expertise,” he said.
Pakistan’s edible oil consumption is about 3.2 million tonnes annually, of which, palm oil accounted for 65 per cent or between 2 and 2.1 million tonnes. Last year, Malaysian palm oil met 73 per cent of Pakistan’s edible oil requirements while in the first five months this year, it dropped to 60 per cent.
Noraslan also listed pharmaceutical, medical tourism and Islamic banking industries as other areas of interest for joint ventures. “As for medical tourism, Pakistan is hopeful Malaysian companies would invest aggressively as there was a huge demand for it,” he said.
Against this backdrop, he said a 30 member delegation comprising Malaysian companies would participate in Expo Pakistan 2013 in September. “I have also invited them to partake in Intrade Malaysia 2013 to be held in November,” Noraslan said, adding Intrade would give Pakistani businessmen the opportunity to explore areas of potential for export.
He said the trade imbalance currently in favour of Malaysia was of concern for Pakistan which was looking to increase its exports to Malaysia and Intrade was a good platform to get potential customers or clients. Bilateral trade stood at US$2.1 billion last year. Exports amounted to a whooping US$1.83 billion while imports stood at only US$250 million. Malaysia’s major exports to Pakistan are palm oil, chemical and chemical products, electrical and electronic products, machinery, appliances and parts, as well as, textiles and clothing. Malaysia mainly imports cereal, textiles and clothing, seafood (fresh, chilled and frozen), refined petroleum products and, chemical and chemicals products.