LAHORE    -    Australian Trade Commissioner Mark Morley has stressed the need of exploring new avenues for expanding bilateral trade and investment. Speaking at a ceremony at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Saturday, he said that Australia and Pakistan have cordial relations built on strong business-to-business and people-to-people connections. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawad Ahmad, Regional Business Development Manager of Australia Imran Saeed Khan, LCCI Executive Committee members Haris Attiq, Zeshan Sohail Malik, Sheikh Sajjad Afzal and Amir Anwar also spoke on the occasion. Australian Trade Commissioner said that Australia desired enhancing cooperation with Pakistan in mining technology, education, dairy, livestock and various other sectors.

While calling for frequent exchange of business-related delegations, he said that trade delegations from Pakistan would be warmly welcomed in Australia. He said that Pakistani goods were best of the best in the world and had huge potential to attract Australian market. He urged the business community to focus on joint ventures with their Australian counterparts.

Imran Saeed Khan said that both countries should identify new products for trade. He said that sector-specific delegations from Pakistan should visit Australia to have firsthand knowledge about the trade and investment opportunities. He said that private sectors of the two countries could step into joint ventures in food, energy, dairy, livestock and various other sectors.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh informed the Australian delegation that the LCCI has declared 2019-20 as the year of exports. He said that balance of trade has been in favour of Australia but the matter of concern was decrease in volume of bilateral trade during the last couple of years. He said that from 2017 to 2018, the two way trade dipped from 870 million dollars to 636 million dollars. The major reason was significant decrease in imports from Australia that went down to 390 million dollars from 633 million dollars during that period. However, in the meantime, the exports to Australia inched up from 237 million dollars to 246 million dollars. “It will not be wrong to say that the trade potential between two countries is more than dollar 2 billion for which both public and private sectors have to make joint efforts”, he added.

He said that Australia imports surgical instruments, parts & accessories of tractors, furniture, articles of apparel, jewelry items, other textile made-ups, footwear and pharmaceuticals in sufficient quantities from other countries. “There is a great potential for Australia to enhance the import of these commodities from Pakistan and increase the trade volume between two countries”, he said, adding, Australia has well-developed dairy and livestock sectors.