KCCI initiates series of webinars with Pakistani diplomats abroad Pakistan’s CG in Shanghai underscores need to focus on value addition

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Consul General in Shanghai Hussain Haider has emphasized that in order to increase Pakistan’s exports to China, the business and industrial community will have to focus on the value addition as it has been observed that raw materials and less value-added products were typically being exported to China where there is a huge potential for exporting value added products.

Speaking at the webinar organized by the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) in collaboration with Pakistan’s Consulate in Shanghai, Hussain Haider pointed out that raw materials like copper & articles worth US$551.2 million along with cotton yarn & fabrics valuing US$351.95 million were the top two products exported to China in 2019 whereas the exports of value added products like knitted apparel and woven apparel stood at US47.49 million and US$31.38 million respectively which clearly indicates that Pakistani exporters were mostly tilted to exporting raw material instead of value added products.

This first webinar, which was part of a series of webinars scheduled to be organized by KCCI to promote trade and investment cooperation with countries around the world, was also attended by President KCCI M. Shariq Vohra, Senior Vice President Saqib Goodluck, Vice President Shamsul Islam Khan, KCCI Managing Committee, representatives of industrial town associations and other prominent representatives from trade & industry via zoom.

Pakistan’s CG informed that YRD region in China which comprises of four provinces namely Shanghai, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui, was the most technologically advanced region with highest per capita income and highest contribution to Chinese GDP. “This is the region in which Pakistani exporters must look for more avenues of enhancing trade by focusing value addition while attention must also be given to digitalization as it has been observed that digitalization for both Business-to-Business (B2B) and Business-to-Consumer (B2C) has predominantly increased in the YRD region.”

He informed that Pakistani Consulate in Shanghai has identified numerous sectors including textiles & clothing, value added textiles, garments, made-ups, medical & surgical equipment, sports goods, inflatable balls, exercise equipment and outdoor games equipment, leather apparel, articles of leather including trunks, suitcases, briefcases and vanity cases etc. in which Pakistani manufacturers already have the expertise and they will certainly be able to capture a sizeable share in the Chinese markets.

He was of the of opinion that the sister city status between Karachi and Shanghai can also provide a basis of economic cooperation. To further strengthen trade and investment cooperation between Karachi and Shanghai, the Karachi Chamber and Shanghai Chamber should sign the much-awaited Memorandum of Understanding through an online forum as the said MoU, which was initiated in April 2020 and concurred by the two Chambers in August 2020, suffered delay due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking on the occasion, President KCCI Shariq Vohra said that YRD region in China was one of the richest regions which contributes 20 percent to the Chinese GDP growth and has been through massive development which is likely to attract investments of up to billions of dollars from all around the world. “Hence, we will also have to look for trade and investment opportunities for Pakistani business and industrial community in this particular region in order to benefit from the situation.”

Shariq Vohra was of the opinion that the situation for Pakistani investors in China has never been that attractive for various reasons. A lot of Pakistanis have invested heavily in Europe and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) but not in China for reasons including less know-how of Chinese culture, language barriers, China’s non-tariff and tariff trade barriers etc. “We have never tried to enter into Chinese market where substantial investments have come from US, Japan, Russia and many other countries. Hence, it is high time that the business and industrial community of Pakistan must explore trade and investment opportunities in China through effective utilization of technological advancements being using widely all over China while the Chinese government must also do away barriers hindering trade and investment cooperation between the two countries”, he added.

Referring to enhanced usage of e-commerce in China where 749 million consumers are available online, Shariq Vohra particularly mentioned that although alibaba.com was the biggest buying and selling portal of China but this portal offers very limited services through an agent to Pakistani businessmen and industrialists who are intending to use this huge platform for their buying and selling needs but they are unable to do so mainly due to lack of adequate payment solution. “This trade barrier requires special attention as payment solutions for e-commerce in Pakistan are still in its infancy which restricts many trade opportunities for Pakistan.”

“In this regard, Pakistan’s Consulate in Shanghai should take up this matter with the management of Alibaba.com so that they could facilitate Pakistani business community by enhancing their operations for Pakistan along with provision of proper payment solutions which are allowed by the State Bank of Pakistan as currently online payments via PayPal and many other payment solutions remain banned in Pakistan”, President KCCI said, “Although the State Bank has been assuring from time to time that a mechanism was being devised to facilitate e-payments via various digital payment service providers and it will be launched soon but this crucial mechanism has been pending since more than a decade now. We hope that the State Bank would, this time, expedite the process and launch the mechanism for allowing digital payments which would be widely appreciated by the business community.

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