KUWAIT: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has reiterated that Pakistan-Kuwait bilateral trade should be further enhanced to its fullest potential.
In delegation-level talks with the Kuwaiti delegation led by the Prime Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah at the Bayan Palace in Kuwait on Tuesday, Nawaz Sharif said that fondly recalled visit of the Kuwaiti prime minister to Pakistan in November 2013, coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations.
Sharif said that more than 114,000 Pakistanis live in Kuwait which was evidence of the strong ties existing between the two countries. He said that it also confirmed the immense importance that Pakistan attaches to relations with Kuwait.
The prime minister pointed out that Pakistan and Kuwait have been economic and trade partners for long and Pakistan wished to further enhance its relations with Kuwait in all spheres. He said that the Pakistan-Kuwait Joint Ministerial Commission provides the best platform to take stock of bilateral cooperation in various economic sectors and setting new benchmarks to carry this cooperation forward..
Referring to the level of bilateral trade between the two countries, the prime minister reiterated that this needed to be further enhanced to its fullest potential. He said that encouraging greater private sector interaction could enhance the existing level of trade as well as bridge the imbalance in existing trade patterns.
Nawaz Sharif proposed establishing a Pakistan-Kuwait Joint Business Council (JBC) between two apex Chambers of Commerce to address these issues. He said that there was great potential for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, construction, poultry, livestock and fisheries and to this end meetings of experts of the two countries be held to work out a plan of action.
The prime minister also emphasized the importance of early resumption of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with the support of Kuwait and most importantly spoke of the need for lifting of visa restrictions at it would remove a major hurdle in freedom of movement for the business community.
Sharif stressed that Pakistan was an investment friendly country and an attractive destination for foreign investors, due to its liberal investment policy and high rate of return. He said that there are ample opportunities for investors, with 100% equity or joint ventures in Pakistan. He said that over 1,000 leading multinational companies are currently successfully operating in various sectors of our economy.
The prime minister informed that there were a number of energy and infrastructure development projects in Pakistan that could be considered by foreign investors. He emphasized that we would welcome further investments from Kuwait in mega infrastructure and energy projects being undertaken in Pakistan.
During the talks, the Minister for Petroleum & Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi and Chairman Board of Investment (BOI) Miftah Ismail were also present.
The Kuwaiti prime minister was accompanied by his Minister for Defence, the Minister for Finance, the Minister for Energy and other senior officials.
Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was accorded a warm welcome upon arrival at the Bayan Palace with Guard of Honor.