Muslim countries have enormous resources and potentials to succeed, but the task is to translate these potential into real asset. Promotion of economic linkage within the Muslim communities by creating opportunities could help generate greater flow of capital from within and beyond the Islamic world, this was stated by Sheikh Sultan Rehman Vice President FPCCI in webinar held at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Karachi Head Office, Regional Office Lahore and Capital Office Islamabad via Zoom link.
The webinar was organized by Sheikh Sultan Rehman Vice President FPCCI and attended by Amjad Rafi and Nasser Hayatt Magoo, Former Presidents Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Oniasa Zafar, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Bilal Khan Pasha Consul General of Pakistan in Turkey, Muhammad Hanif Bashir Commercial Counselor of Pakistan in Oman, Muhammad Salman Ali Trade & Investment Attache of Pakistan in Qatar, Khadim Ali Trade and Investment Attaché of Pakistan in Jordan, Fouzia Perveen Ch. Minister (Trade & Investment) of Pakistan in Indonesia and Mr. Rashid Imtiaz Commercial Secretary of Pakistan in Tajikistan, Aliya Jaffer, Assistant Secretary General Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA) and Shabana Asif Sr. Vice President Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry,
In his remarks, Sheikh Sultan Rehman Vice President FPCCI stated that absence of unity and cooperation among the OIC Countries is a biggest challenge in the present uncertain political and economic situation in Islamic countries. He added that OIC which is the second largest bloc of the world represented one fourth of total land with 4.1 percent of the world population. While highlighting the statistics, he added that the collective GDP of OIC is US$ 6.5 trillion with average per capita income US$ 7,189. He further added that the intra-regional trade among the OIC Countries is 17.5 percent of total trade of OIC Countries while the intra-region FDI stood 2-3% of GDP. He also highlighted the World Islamic Economy figures that Muslim spent US$ 2.2 Billion on Food, lifestyle and tourism which is growing 5-6 percent annually which indicates the potentials of halal industry. While commenting on Pakistan relations with Muslim World, he stated that Pakistan has strong and significant relations with all Muslim nations at political level but these relations do not reflect in terms of trade volume despite the fact that there is huge potential of trade due to geographical proximity, religion and cultural ties, similarities and availability of natural resources. The reason behind the low level of trade is lack of information sharing and low level of interaction among the private sector of Pakistan and OIC countries. He stated that among OIC member states, Pakistan has signed FTA only with Malaysia and PTAs with Indonesia Mauritius and Iran.
During the discussion, Mr. Muhammad Salman Ali, Trade and Investment Attache of Pakistan in Qatar stated that value added food products, pharmaceutical, construction material and agro based product has huge export opportunities to Qatar. FPCCI and TDAP should regularly participate in the exhibitions organized by Qatar for the enhancement of trade.
Mr. Khadim Ali, Trade and Investment Attache of Pakistan in Jordan stated that Qatar is a consumer market and is importing rice, meat, fruits, sugar, tea, coffee, textile fabric, plastic items, ceramics etc wherein there is potentials for Pakistan to export. Currently, India and Europe is penetrating in Jordan and share of Pakistan in Jordan’s trade is less than one percent. He indicated that there are no marketing efforts and only one delegation of Pakistan visited Jordan last year. Moreover, Pakistani businessmen should regularly participate in exhibitions and trade fairs of Jordan.
Mr. Bilal Pasha, Consul General of Pakistan in Turkey added that there is no operational trade agreement among 57 countries of OIC which is the main reason of low intra-regional trade. Market access, connectivity, transportation, financial connectivity and B2B connectivity are challenges which Pakistan faces in trade with Islamic Countries. Turkey is advance in science and technology and there is scope of collaboration for both countries in light engineering, chemical, agriculture, leather and textile.
Ms Fauzia Perveen, Trade and Investment Attache of Pakistan in Indonesia stated that there are huge non-tariff barriers in terms of import license, quality requirements etc. Pakistan and Indonesia operationalized Preferential Trade Agreement in 2013 which is mainly benefiting Indonesia. Lack of shipping lines is another issue and almost 20-25 days are required for trade with Indonesia. Dates, meat and ethanol have potentials of exports towards Indonesia.
Mr. Rashid Imtiaz, Commercial Secretary of Pakistan in Tajikistan stated that Tajikistan is gateway to Central Asia and Pakistan is mainly exporting sugar and importing cotton from Tajikistan. Connectivity is the main issue due to uncertain situation in Afghanistan. Ms Aliya Jaffer, Assistant Secretary General of ICCIA also suggested replicating of border trade of TOBB by other Islamic countries.
Mr. Muhammad Hanif Bashir, Commercial Consellor of Pakistan in Oman informed that India and China are aggressively marketing their products in Oman as Oman is mainly an importing country. He also suggested regular holding of Joint Business Council meeting with respective country by FPCCI and participation in trade fairs and exhibitions.
During the question- answer session, Mr. Amjad Rafi, Former President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry also inquired about the trade agreements of Jordan with Turkey and Egypt and TIR conventions.