According to newspaper reports, Pakistan Ambassador to China Masood Khalid has told a group of 76 Chinese entrepreneurs to take advantage of business opportunities in Pakistan, especially in the textile and garments sectors.There is no doubt that Pakistan has a huge and developed textile and garments industry, but it could not fully utilize its potentials. Pakistan is a safe destination for foreign investors, especially it is a promise land for Chinese investors due to close government-to-government cooperation. Both the countries are already engaged in various development and infrastructure projects, and cooperation in the industrial sector will not only be useful for the entrepreneurs but also for the Chinese government which wants to shift its economy from small industry to heavy industry. There are dozens of industrial and export processing zones in the pipeline as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and full involvement of the Chinese investors in the industrial sector will be beneficial for the two countries. Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the countries have jointly launched a number of projects in energy, roads network, infrastructure, and industrial sectors.
The provincial governments are also planning to provide best business environment to Chinese investors and are building roads networks and other infrastructural projects.It is now up to the Chinese entrepreneurs to take advantage of enormous business opportunities offered by the provincial governments in the country. The general opinion of Pakistanis about Chinese is very good and around 100,000 Chinese nationals are already working in various development projects. The government is taking extra measures for the security and wellbeing of the foreign workers. The advice and invitation of the ambassador is one thing, and giving it to a practical shape is another. Apart from China, businessmen from many other countries are also willing to come to Pakistan, but official rigmarole comes as the biggest hurdle in the way of investment. There are huge markets in Europe, Asia and Africa for the Pakistani products, but no serious effort has been made to explore new export markets. Pakistan’s exports have been on downward trajectory, and instead of exporting the value added goods, the government is encouraging the export of fruits and other food items. A country of 200 million people, Pakistan itself is a good food market and spends millions of dollars annually on the import of meat and vegetables from India, China, Iran and Afghanistan.
The policymakers should concentrate on creating industrial surplus, launch capacity building programmes for government officials and encourage and facilitate local businessmen to launch joint ventures in collaboration with their Chinese counterparts.