KARACHI: Several international companies are evaluating options to invest in Pakistan, while two Silicon Valley based tech companies have expressed intention to start their operations in Pakistan, says Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Haider Zaidi. He was speaking at the business networking session and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing ceremony between Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Singapore Business Federation here on Monday. “Pakistan is truly a land of opportunities. With its rich maritime resources, abundant workforce and business friendly policies, Pakistan offers lucrative investment opportunities,” minister said. Chairman Middle East Business Group and Vice Chairman South Asia Business Group Shamsher Zaman, leading Singapore Business Federation’s delegation, said being the world’s 6th largest populated country, with a large talent pool, advantageous geographical position and maritime wealth, Pakistan furnished a rich source of opportunities for Singapore. “In turn, Singapore can be a centre for financing, services and expertise for Pakistan. Singapore companies have watched with much excitement and interest on the Pakistan government’s commitment to economic reform and increased stability in the country.” Zaman said Pakistan forged ahead to create an enabling and conducive environment for foreign direct investment, registering initial success by securing large FDI projects from Saudi Arabia, China, UK, Japan and UAR among others. “These are multi-billion deals inked in the sectors of oil and gas, energy, chemicals, food and agriculture. We hope to be part of these developments with Pakistan.” He said Pakistani companies seeking to export their goods and provide their services to ASEAN, China and the rest of the Far East region could use Singapore as a base to market their products and services, tap into globally connected infrastructure, and find business partners amongst thousands of multinational companies headquartered in Singapore. “Pakistani companies will also be able to tap into Singapore's extensive Free Trade Agreements consisting of 13 bilateral FTAs with economic partners such as China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Jordan, Turkey and the United States. We also have 10 regional FTAs with trading blocs such as ASEAN, the Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP”. “With our high level of expertise and familiarity with Chinese operations and Chinese partnerships with Singapore companies, Singapore can also play a role in Pakistan and China's strategic relationship. While much activity will take place directly between Pakistan and China, Pakistani companies could also tap on the knowledge, connections and expertise on Chinese businesses by partnering with Singapore companies,” Shamsher Zaman added. President FPCCI Daroo Khan Achakzai said the purpose of the MoU was to establish a practical framework for the development of stronger business relations between the two parties, and to set forth the procedures of cooperation, which can enhance the implementation of reciprocal economic objectives. “FPCCI and Singapore Business Federation will encourage, promote and facilitate economic cooperation among their business communities to the mutual interest of both sides, and in accordance with the laws of two countries,” Achakzai said. According to MoU, FPCCI and Singapore Business Federation will encourage the flow of reciprocal economic information, statistics and trade data. Both the federations will also encourage joint research activities whenever possible and required.