KARACHI: Consul General of Malaysia Khairul Nazam Abd Rahman, while expressing concerns over the decision taken by Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce to increase tariff (Regulatory Duty) on import of air conditioners, said that the decision to raise tariffs on import of air conditioners and other such products was notified through an SRO which is a violation of Pakistan-Malaysia Free Trade Agreement therefore it needs to be reviewed.
Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the Malaysian CG said that instead of increasing tariffs through imposition of Regulatory Duties, the government may come up with some kind of system in which a win-win situation is created and Malaysian exporters are not affected.
President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid, Chairman Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Shamoon Zaki and Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.
Khairul Nazam further commented that although Pakistan and Malaysia have signed an FTA but not much momentum in trade has been witnessed which also requires special attention and efforts from both sides. “Although trade has been improving but at a relatively slow pace. Trade volume improved marginally by just 2.5 percent last year”, he added.
He said that this was the right time to ‘connect’ and work collectively as new governments have taken charge of the country’s affairs in Pakistan and Malaysia.
He emphasized on regular exchange of trade delegations and participation in trade promotional activities taking place in both the countries throughout the year which would surely help in furthering the existing relations between the two brotherly countries.
Highlighting some of the potential areas, Malaysian CG advised the Pakistani exporters to look into the possibility of exporting Basmati, IRRI-6 rice and mangoes to Malaysia which were being offered at competitive prices while the Malaysian business community can also look into the possibility of venturing into various infrastructural projects in Pakistan, particularly the 5 million houses scheme announced by the government which was a good opportunity. Success stories were needed to reap the interest of Malaysian business community in numerous opportunities available in Pakistan, he added.
He said that during the last 8 months since he assumed charge as Malaysian Consul General, he found the citizens of Karachi very friendly and hospitable.
Earlier, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, while welcoming the Malaysian Consul General, opined that Pakistan-Malaysian relations were expected to improve further as the present government was very serious towards fostering the existing relations between the two brotherly countries.
Referring to concerns expressed by Malaysian CG on imposition of RD, Junaid Makda said that numerous diplomats including the German Consul General also expressed similar concerns over the imposition of RD but this step has been taken by the government to purely discourage unnecessary imports of luxury items as under the prevailing circumstances, Pakistan was not in a position to spend billions of dollars on imports of luxury items. However, Junaid Makda assured the Malaysian Consul General that KCCI would discuss this particular issue pertaining to RD on air conditioners with PM’s Advisor Abdul Razzak Dawood and Finance Minister Asad Umer as Pakistan cannot retreat from its commitments made under FTA with Malaysia.
Highlighting the trade and investment potential of Karachi, which is the economic hub of Pakistan, he said that this city offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for trade, investment and joint ventures to Malaysian business and industrial community. The significance of Karachi can be gauged from the fact that Federal Finance Minister Asad Umer during a recent meeting with Presidents of major Chambers of Commerce which was presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan, admitted that Karachi contributes 70 percent revenue to the national exchequer. “It is for the very first time that the federal government has accepted Karachi’s contribution as all the previous governments either denied, argued or disagreed over Karachi city’s lead role in economic development of Pakistan”, he added.
Junaid Makda stressed that Pakistan and Malaysia have to find new areas for mutual cooperation and try to further boost trade and economic ties. “There is huge potential for joint ventures and investment in the areas of Islamic Finance, Halal food industries, Energy, Low cost housing, infra-structure development, telecommunications and education”, he noted, adding that Malaysia was a potential market for Pakistani fruits and vegetables like mangoes, oranges, onions and potatoes.
Referring to Pakistan’s splendid and hard-working human resource, he said that there was a great potential for Pakistan to export its skilled, technical and educated human resource to Malaysia.
He informed the Malaysian CG that Pakistan was an open economy with no restrictions where Malaysian firms and contractors can benefit by establishing businesses.