ISLAMABAD: On the first day of a Turkish business delegation’s visit to the country, a number of memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and agreements for business cooperation and joint ventures were signed between the businessmen of two countries.
Witnessing the signing ceremony on Thursday, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Industries and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said that a few of these would be materialised in the near future.
The adviser, who witnessed the business to business (B2B) meetings of business from various sectors of the two counties, said that Pakistani software development house Locopixel has successfully closed a deal to develop an agriculture technology solution for Turkish vegetable seed breeder Manier Seeds.
“Hititi Computer Service of Turkey, which provides aviation IT services to at least 30 international airlines and is the biggest partner of the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) for Passenger Services System (PSS) and catering, has finalised a contract with the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) for opening an incubation center in the first science and technology park to be developed in Pakistan,” the adviser said in a tweet.
According to officials, the Joint Working Group of Pakistan and Turkey on Trade and Investment was held between the delegations of the two sides. The delegation of both countries explored various opportunities for trade and investment between both countries. The joint working group also finalised two MoUs, including an agreement on trade facilitation and customs cooperation and cooperation for Halal accreditation and conformity assessment. These MoUs would be signed in the preliminary session.
“It was a pleasure meeting with the Turkish businessmen at the B2B session which was organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP). I am very happy to announce that a few of Joint Ventures will materialize in the near future,” Razak Dawood said in another tweet.
The B2B meeting was organized at a local hotel in Islamabad on the occasion of the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to officials of the Ministry of Commerce, the objective of this initiative was to bring businessmen from Pakistan and Turkey under one roof to explore ways to enhance trade and investment.
The Turkish business delegation comprised leading business representatives from sectors, including engineering, energy, tourism, construction, defence, automotive, chemicals and IT. More than 200 prominent businessmen from Pakistani counterpart sectors, leading trade bodies like FPCCI, SCCI, ICCI, PBC, etc. and government organisations, including PBIT, TDCP, PTDC from the Pakistan side and TUMSAID, DIEK, Pakistan-Turkey Friendship Association, etc. from Turkish side were present on the occasion.
The event was formally inaugurated by Secretary Commerce Sardar Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera followed by addresses from FPCCI president and Pakistan-Turkey Business Council chairman.
The advisor visited the networking event and emphasised the importance of cooperation in enhancing trade and investment. He also met with different Turkish delegates, chambers and associations and discussed the possible ways to increase bilateral trade and investment.
All the speakers expressed great enthusiasm regarding the enhancement of trade and economic relations between the two nations and the visit of the delegation was generally remarked upon as a milestone for the opening of best possible avenues of cooperation in trade and investment ties between Pakistan and Turkey.
During the B2B meeting, the delegations had discussed trade, investment, and cooperation on tourism, military procurement, cooperation in other areas of defense industry to energy, construct on, textile, food, livestock, import and export, airways, real estate, tourism, consultancy trade, shipping, agriculture, jewelry, automotive and vehicle equipment, construction and production, tractor and engine, casting, and production of paper industry.
Earlier on Thursday, Dawood said that the visit of the Turkish president to Pakistan is of more importance to the country than the previous ones as the bilateral ties have gone to a higher level.
According to a report by the Turkish Anadolu Agency, Dawood said that Islamabad is expecting “much more” out of the visit compared to the previous ones.
“We look at this visit as very very important. He [Erdogan] is bringing a high-level business delegation with him, which shows his eagerness to bolster trade and economic ties with Pakistan,” he said.
“What I am expecting is that we already have the presence of Turkish companies here. But that’s not enough. We want these numbers double, even triple,” Dawood said, adding. “We want to increase cooperation with Turkish companies to benefit from their expertise in different sectors, mainly construction, tourism, engineering, food processing, chemicals, and information technology”.
Referring to a long-awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, he said the two sides had agreed to prepare a “scoping list” to examine their respective sectors of strength, with an ultimate aim to boost the bilateral trade volume.
“I met the Turkish commerce minister in Davos, Switzerland [on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting] twice. We have orally agreed on a framework to boost our bilateral trade volume,” he said, and added, “I am sure that on the basis of this study [scoping list], we will be able to identify the sectors to cooperate”.
The current trade volume between Pakistan and Turkey is $900 million. The two countries are engaged in Strategic Economic Framework (SEF) that aims to boost the bilateral trade volume. Last year, Ankara presented its proposals on the SEF to Islamabad with an aim to enhance the current bilateral trade five times. The SEF includes some 71 actionable items — including free trade agreement, technology transfer, capacity building, and defence cooperation.