ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Malaysia Masood Khalid has said the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Malaysia has reached $2.8 billion, registering a growth of 14 per cent.

“We are happy that the bilateral trade has increased steadily but Pakistan’s share in the bilateral trade is only $257 million which has tilted the balance of trade heavily in favour of Malaysia. We’re looking to balance this gap by increasing exports to Malaysia especially that of rice, mangoes and beef,” he said in an exclusive interview with Bernama News Agency on the eve of 72nd Pakistan Day being commemorated on Friday (today).

According to a message received here from Pakistan High Commission in Malaysia here on Thursday, he said Pakistan would also like to invite more Malaysian companies to expand their business in Pakistan especially in the construction industry and exploring untapped business opportunities in fields such as gems and salt industry.

He said Pakistan was also looking to strengthen bilateral ties with Malaysia in education and manpower supply. “We have around 3,500 students in top universities in Malaysia and are hoping to increase it ... the majority of our students study in information technology, engineering and natural sciences,” he said adding that there was already an effort being made by the local Malaysian universities to pick up and groom talented Pakistani students for the local industry.

To a question, he said there were approximately 38,000 Pakistanis working in various industries and sectors in Malaysia and Pakistan was willing to supply more skilled and semi-skilled manpower to contribute towards Malaysia’s development.

Masood Khalid said Pakistan was also keen to enhance cooperation in the tourism industry where both countries were rich with interesting places to visit. “Besides interesting places, we have many similarities in our rich culture, food and language which we can use to boost our tourism industry,” he said. He said energy and green technology were other sectors in which Pakistan was looking to cooperate with Malaysia.

“Malaysia is more advanced than us regarding green technology and we’re looking for a way to cooperate in developing more green technology. We have a lot of green technology’s raw material like paddy husk,” he said.

The High Commissioner said Pakistan was also hoping to see more interaction and cooperation between the media from both countries. “I would like to see more Malaysian journalists come to Pakistan to make the coverage and vice versa”, he said.

The people in both countries want to know what happens in each other’s region, he said adding, “Besides the media, I would also like to see more linkage between think-tanks in both countries so that we can develop and go forward together”.

To a query, he said Pakistan was looking into the possibility of getting Malaysian Halal Certificate to boost its export of halal products to Malaysia especially beef.

He said the prices of meat and beef in Pakistan were cheaper and the supply was abundant. “Our meat and beef are cheaper and Pakistan’s reserves of meat and beef are also sufficient. We have to work together to get Malaysian halal certificate and we don’t have any problem supplying halal food because we’re Muslim producers,” he said.