Germany, being a partner in modernization and development of Pakistan, has a keen interest in the enhancement of bilateral economic ties. Pakistan is the economic corridor to Central Asia which is a market of 67.1 million people. Therefore, doing business in Pakistan is to target a market of 255.1 million people.
Pakistan is ranked 128 by World Bank in ease of doing business, leaving behind Bangladesh ranked 173, India 142 and Afghanistan183 in 2015. Pakistan has been ranked second in the world in terms of business growth in a survey conducted by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in 2014. Pakistan China Economic Corridor is to facilitate logistic services, custom clearance etc. while Iran will supply 750 million cubic feet of natural gas/day for 25 years.
Mr. Stephan Steinlein, German Deputy Minister of the Federal Foreign Office leading 20 members high powered German Business Delegation visited Islamabad and Karachi from 10 to 13 June 2015. He said that economic growth is the key to the political stability and prosperity of Pakistan. “I am convinced that the EU’s GSP+ program will continue to boost the economy and I encourage Pakistan to implement the international treaties under the program”, he added.
On 12th June, the Deputy Minister met the board of directors of Karachi Stock Exchange. Later, he addressed the members of Pakistan German Business Forum (PGBF) and German Pakistan Trade and Investment (GPti). The participants of the trade delegation got the opportunity to meet members of the Pakistan Business community and exchanged views on exploring business opportunities.
In his address Mr. Stephan Steinlein expressed his fascination over the positive business environment in Karachi and said this is the right time to come and invest in Pakistan. Stating the experience of his two days visits of Islamabad and Karachi he was delighted that the members of the groups of businessmen in Pakistan were already looking for more possibilities for investment by German companies. He said that although security situation and some other legal problems are there but in last two years under the government of Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan has qualified for GSP+ status from EU. During the visit of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had appreciated his efforts for restoration of law and order and said that Germany is looking to increase its investments in Pakistan, especially in the energy sector, provided the conditions are right.
The Chief Operating Officer of GPti, Ms. Barbara Schumacher stated that PGBF has more than 200 members and it was established in year 1997 while GPti was created in year 2014 and so far it has 44 members. They are taking care of their members by having expert groups in different sectors including food, textiles, garments, pharmaceuticals, logistics, light & heavy machinery and automobiles. The automotive industry in Pakistan is very attractive for us; we want to enhance our participation here through trade fairs and conferences of special interests.
Mr. Noordin Karim, Vice Chairman PGBF in his speech informed that their main agenda is to promote investment in Pakistan under the guidance of German Ambassador. Qazi Sajid Ali, Chairman GPti stated that after many years this high powered delegation has come to Pakistan. Most of the German companies are already doing business in Pakistan with excellent business margin of more than 25 to 30 percent.
Earlier in Islamabad, the high ranking delegation started their visit with meetings with Sartaj Aziz, Adisor to the Prime Minister, Tariq Fatemi Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on foreign Affairs with the status of Minister of State, Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of Commerce, and Dr. Hafiz Pasha, former Minister of Finance. While the business delegation also discussed opportunities and challenges of business in Pakistan with Iftikhar Babar, Secretary Board of Investment, and Pakistani businessmen in Islamabad.
As part of the Deputy Minister’s engagements with government and private institutions in Karachi, he visited a German company Metro Cash & Carry and AMANTECH (partner institute of germen Pakistan training Initiative (GPATI), where he was briefed about their operations. He called on the Chief Minister of Sindh, Qaim Ali Shah along with the German Ambassador Dr. Cyrill Nunn, the German Consul General, Dr. Tilo Klinner and other members of the delegation participated in a roundtable discussion on the topic “Perspectives of German Business opportunities in Pakistan, the Sindh province and the Megacity of Karachi”. The discussion was attended by the Chief Minister Sindh, Qaim Ali Shah, and the Minister of Finance Sindh, Murad Ali Shah, members of Sindh Board of Investment and members of Sindh Board of Revenue.
It may be mentioned here that European Union has granted GSP plus status to Pakistan that gives concessionary access to more than 1,000 products in the EU. The Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) has boosted the country’s exports and at initial stage this status has helped in increasing export worth an additional $1 billion. The Government is making efforts to improve supply side arrangements, to meet the increasing demand for the products in EU and elsewhere. There are opportunities for Pakistan to push its exports and diversify its products and markets.
-Published on pages#30-31, September-2015 edition of MOBILE WORLD Magazine