KARACHI: Member of Maldivian Parliament Abdul Bari Abdulla has said that being an importing country, Maldives can offer a lot of opportunities to businessmen and industrialists of Pakistan who must frequently visit Maldives to explore opportunities of enhancing bilateral trade in different sectors of the economy.
“We are not producers but largely importers whereas Pakistan, being a producing country, can provide many goods and services to Maldives therefore the Pakistani business community should focus on improving linkages with Maldivians by holding maximum number of B2B meetings which would certainly prove favorable for both the countries”, he added while speaking at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Chairman of KCCI’s Subcommittee for Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Shamoon Zaki, Former President Majyd Aziz and KCCI Managing Committee Members attended the meeting.
Abdul Bari Abdulla, who led a Maldivian delegation at KCCI, said that Maldives has mostly been importing rice, fruits and vegetables from Pakistan but many other products particularly textiles, cotton and agricultural commodities can also be exported to Maldives. “The Maldivian businessmen are very much interested in enhancing economic cooperation and bilateral trade with Pakistan. The main purpose of this delegation’s visit is to commence a new chapter of bilateral relations”, he added.
While highlighting the existing tourism potential in Maldives and Pakistan, he said, “Our dream is to see the beautiful rivers and snowfall in Pakistan while your dream is to experience the most exotic white sandy beaches in Maldives. Hence, tourism is another area which offers huge opportunities for not only enhancing ties but it would also bring Maldivians and Pakistanis more close to each other.”
He said that there were a lot of misconceptions amongst Maldivians about the security situation in Pakistan which is as safe as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and many other countries in the region.
While appreciating the hospitality extended to the Maldivian delegation by Karachi Chamber and other trade associations, he reiterated that the business and industrial community of Karachi should visit Maldives in order to review the opportunities for enhancing trade. “This is the right time to strengthen cooperation between Pakistan and Maldives as new governments have recently assumed charge in both countries”, he added.
President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, in his remarks, stated that the economic relations with Maldives are minimal due to lack of direct shipping services between the two countries. It was a matter of concerns that the trade remains very limited despite the fact that the two countries are members of South Asian Free Trade Areas (SAFTA) Agreement.
He mentioned that trade volume between Pakistan and Maldives stood at a mere $7.22 million which requires collective efforts. “In this regard, I would like to stress the need to effectively utilize Trade platforms and trade promotion events while effective utilization of SAFTA agreement can prove beneficial for both countries”, he added.
He further opined that Pakistan can find a market for its engineering and electrical products in Maldives, while also exploring the iron and steel sector in the country. Furthermore, signing of MoUs between KCCI and its peer Chamber in Maldives would also bring business communities closer while the agreements on tourism, trade promotion, higher education and human resource capacity building would help in further consolidating bilateral relations.
Junaid Makda emphasized that the Karachi Chamber wants to promote business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and Maldives. “We want to promote and do everything for the development of Pakistan–Maldives business cooperation”, he added.