KARACHI: The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry have resolved to establish Pakistan Oman Joint Business Council for enhancing interaction between private sectors of both countries.
It was agreed in a Webinar hosted by OCCI and FPCCI. The Ambassadors of Pakistan and Oman expressed their compliments to get strengthened trade and social relations between both countries. They said that Pakistan is a big market with 220 million people with nominal GDP of US$ 284 billion. At present, the major economic growth drivers are investment under China Pakistan Economic Corridors (CPEC) and investment in construction sector under housing scheme. Despite COVID-19, the economy of Pakistan grew positive in the FY21 due to growth in manufacturing and service sector.
They urged to enhance economic relations, both countries need to compliment each other’s economies, promote commercial activities through frequent exchange of delegations, arranging of meetings at commercial level and holding and participating in single country exhibitions and fairs on reciprocal basis.
From Pakistan side the Webinar was attended by K.K. Ahsan Wagan – Ambassador of Pakistan to Oman. Moderated by Mr. Amjad Rafi, Convener International Forums of FPCCI, Muhammad Hanif Lakhani, Vice President FPCCI presided over the event in the absence of Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo President FPCCI and delivered the welcome speech. The other participants included; Former VP Sheikh Sultan Rehman, Iftikhar Ghani Vohra and large number of other businessmen.
Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry was represented by Sheikh Muhammad Omar Al Marhoon – Ambassador of the Sultanate to Pakistan, Eng. Redha Al Saleh – OCCI Chairman, Mrs. Haritha Al Busaidi – Director, Organizations and International Relations Department, Ms. Shaikha Al Alawi – Economic Researcher, Organization and International Relations, Ms. Amna Al Sharji – Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones, and Ms. Haura Al Wahaibi – Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion.
Vice President Muhammad Hanif Lakhani, highlighted the potentials of agriculture sector, textile and food sector. He appreciated the presence of Ambassadors of both countries and inspiration for business community of both countries. He added that Pakistani community has been making valuable contribution to the development of Oman which needs to be increased in employment of Pakistani workers in banking, health, education, petroleum and food sectors. While quoting the statistics, the volume of bilateral trade is US$ 764 million and is not matching with excellent economic and political ties and highlights the need to diversify bilateral trade by taking advantage of geographical proximity. He also discussed the joint ventures of Pakistan and Oman in financial sector and simplification of visa procedure.
Amjad Rafi appreciated Ambassadors of both countries whom were very keen to enhance bilateral trade and investment relations between both countries. “Their presence in today’s event is also a source of inspiration for the business community of both countries”, he said. Pakistan and Sultanate of Oman are natural, strategic partners and neighbors and have strong historical relations. 30 percent of Omanis are of Balochi origin from Pakistan’s Balochistan province, having settled in Oman over a hundred years ago. Both countries are members of OIC and around 250,000 Pakistani immigrants resident in Oman.
Mr. Amjad Rafi added that Pakistan’s exports to Oman mainly include cereals and meat and major imports from Oman are POL products, iron and steel, plastics and organic chemicals. The reason behind the low bilateral trade between Pakistan and Oman are lack of information about each other’s economic, trade and investment potential, and low level of interaction among the Private sector of both countries. He drew the attention to an important area where there are ample opportunities in Pakistan. Presently, Pakistan doesn’t have any petrochemical (polymer) plant except PVC resin manufacturing. The total imports of polymer in Pakistan except PVC are 7 to 8 lac tons. There is ample scope of joint ventures /investments in this important field in Pakistan as Oman has big plant and expertise in this area.
On behalf of OCCI Ms. Haura Al Wahaibi highlighted the Investment Opportunities and promoting bilateral trade and commercial relations in Oman. Ms. Amna Al Sharji introduced the Oman Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones– OPAZ and invited Pakistani entrepreneurs to come and invest there.