KARACHI: Consul General of Japan Toshikazu Isomura has said that Pakistan and Afghanistan together represent a huge market with a population of around 250 million which could offer a lot of trade and investment opportunities to the Japanese business community looking forward to expand businesses in this important region.
“Currently, a total of 80 Japanese companies are successfully operating from Pakistan but this number is nothing if we compare it with 4,500 Japanese companies operating in Thailand and around 17,000 in China”, he added while exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President Arshad Islam, Vice President Shahid Ismail and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present at the meeting.
Japanese CG mentioned that although a lot of Japanese companies have their production units in India which was also a huge market but these companies simply cannot send their goods and services to Pakistan because of the poor relations and tension between Pakistan and India, ‘which is an issue’.
Highlighting the operations of some major Japanese companies in Pakistan, he particularly mentioned that Suzuki, Honda, Toyota, Isuzu and Hino are successfully running their businesses in the automobile sector while Nissan will also start its operations from Pakistan soon. Recently, Japanese Morinaga Company also inaugurated a state of the art factory in Sheikhupura which is fully functional whereas DID Group Japan through a joint venture with Atlas Honda was also establishing a factory for motorcycle chain production in Pakistan. “Two to three more Japanese companies will also be arriving in Pakistan to start their business units”, Toshikazu Isomura said, adding that it was his desire to strengthen and further improve trade and investment relations with Pakistan and they were trying their best in this regard.
He was of the opinion that Pakistan and Japan have been enjoying good relations since 1952 and Japan was working in this region even before that when they were importing raw material from Sindh and Punjab region for manufacturing textile products in Japan.
Earlier, President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, while welcoming the Japanese Consul General, stated that the Karachi Chamber, which has a host of businessmen and industrialists from different sectors of the economy, was the right platform which must be utilized for improving trade ties and business linkages between the two countries.
He said that Japan has got a very unique style as the Japanese Management Style emphasizes the need for information to flow from the bottom of the company to the top unlike many developed countries in the west that also needs to be introduced in Pakistan as well. “We have to adopt the way Japanese have introduced their products all over the world and also look for ways and means of how to benefit from the Japanese expertise in order to improve our production capacity and enhance Pakistan’s depleting exports”, he added.
He noted that Pakistan and Japan have been enjoying healthy bilateral economic relations since 1952 which was reflected through the fact that at present, large number of Japanese companies were operating in Pakistan. While referring to a survey conducted by Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), he said that Pakistan was ranked second most profitable destination for Japanese companies in the said survey.
He informed that during 2018, goods exported by Pakistan to Japan experienced 17.9 percent decline to $354.26 million from $431.96 million in 2017. Similarly, goods imported by Pakistan from Japan stood at $2.1 billion recording a 9.6 percent decline from $2.3 billion in 2017.
He was of the view that as Japan fulfills its large share of grains, textiles and surgical goods demand through imports, Pakistan can tap these segments by exporting its products to Japan which would further boost the bilateral trade volume between the two countries. “Pakistan should go for joint ventures with Japan to provide training assistance for its automobiles sector”, he suggested.
“We should focus on diversifying trade between the two countries and must particularly look into the possibility of enhancing our agricultural exports, particularly the mango exports to Japan while strategies have to be defined to benefit from Japanese expertise in automation, engineering and electronics”, he added.
He stressed that bilateral relations between Pakistan and Japan have to be strengthened to such an extent that Pakistan’s economy also starts depicting the Japanese knowledge-based economy, which would certainly ensure economic progress and prosperity.