KARACHI: Ambassador of Kingdom of Morocco Mohammed Karmoune, while referring to meager trade volume between Pakistan and Morocco, advised the Business & Industrial Community of Karachi to arrange trade delegations’ visit at least twice a year in order to explore trade and investment opportunities in Morocco which is the gateway to the African region.
Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), he said that Pakistani business community must look for trade and investment opportunities in Morocco and benefit from Morocco’s free trade agreements with United States and European Union.
President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President KCCI Arshad Islam, Chairman of KCCI’s Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Shamoon Zaki, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz, Honorary Consul General of Morocco Mirza Ishtiaq Baig and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.
Moroccan Ambassador said, “Trade volume between Morocco and Pakistan is not at the level being expected by the business communities of the two countries hence collective efforts will have to be made from both sides to improve the existing meager trade volume. In this regard, we will have to jointly explore areas where the Moroccan and Pakistani business communities could collaborate.”
He said that Morocco is the gateway to entire African region and a trading hub where many well-established ports exist particularly the port of Tangier with a capacity of handling nine million containers a year.
Underscoring the importance of promoting trade and business ties between the two countries, the Ambassador reiterated that exchange of trade delegations was imperative to identify the trade potential between the two brotherly countries. For the enhancement of trade and the economic sector, Pakistani investors and businessmen have shown interest in exploring the opportunities being offered by Morocco. In this regard, he appreciated the efforts being made by Morocco-Pakistan Joint Business Council which has been facilitating the business communities of both countries under the supervision its Chairman Mirza Ishtiaq Baig, who is also the Honorary Consul General of Morocco.
He said that tourism is an important driver of the Moroccan economy. Pakistan too has a great potential in this sector. The two countries can exchange ideas in the field of tourism promotion as well.
Earlier, President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, while welcoming the Moroccan Ambassador, stressed that in order to expand Pakistan’s exports to Morocco, the exporters will have to diversify their products as staying confined to just traditional items including textile, sports goods, leather products, surgical equipment and carpets etc. would not yield results. “Besides focusing on products diversification, we also need to pay equal attention to geographical diversification which is very crucial otherwise our exports will remain limited to around US$25 billion”, he added.
He said, “We advised the present government to devise some kind of an effective strategy for geographical diversification and we are really heartened to see that the government has also realized its significance and taken ‘Look Africa policy Initiative’ however, more such initiatives have to be taken as well with focus on tapping the smaller and completely neglected markets around the world.
While referring to meager trade volume between the two countries, Agha Shahab pointed out that in 2018, Pakistan exported goods worth $35.82 million to Morocco while the imports stood at $399.84 million.
He was of the opinion that there was a good potential for enhancing bilateral trade relations between Morocco and Pakistan as Morocco was located at the gateway of Africa and Europe and offers enormous economic opportunities which should be explored. “Both countries must look for cooperating with each other particularly in those sectors in which the two have comparative advantage”, he added.
“Morocco can extend cooperation to Pakistan in reining its high cost of energy through renewables. Single country exhibitions and festivals, like the Biryani festival held recently in Morocco, can help introduce traditional and non-traditional goods to boost exports for mutual benefit”, he added.
He said that Morocco is exploring new ways for economic and infrastructural development and can benefit from experience Pakistan is gaining through CPEC for regional connectivity. “Tourism is an important driver of the Moroccan economy. Pakistan too has a great potential in this sector hence, the two countries can exchange ideas in the field of tourism promotion.