KARACHI: Consul General of Turkey Tolga Ucak has said that although Turkey and Pakistan have been enjoying excellent relations but the trade volume remains limited at around US$700 million so ‘we have to do more’ by increasing interaction and encouraging Joint Ventures between the business communities of the two brotherly countries.
Any initiative by Karachi Chamber to enhance its linkages with Istanbul Chamber of Commerce would certainly be fully facilitated and supported by the Turkish Consulate in Karachi as it would certainly prove beneficial for the business communities of the two countries, he added while exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI).
President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid, Chairman KCCI’s Sub-Committee for Diplomatic Mission Embassies Liaison Shamoon Zaki and Managing Committee Members attended the meeting.
Terming Karachi as a ‘vibrant and active city’ where a lot of production was taking place and numerous services were being offered, Turkish CG advised the business community of Karachi to have more interaction with their counterparts in Turkey with a view to improve the existing trade volume, besides taking steps to promote tourism opportunities in both countries. The Envoy suggested that the Karachi Chamber should send a business delegation to Turkey to further explore trade and investment opportunities.
He said that Business-to-Business and People-to-People contacts have to be promoted between the two countries whereas exchange of students must also be encouraged. “Turkish students, who usually go to western countries to learn English, can visit Pakistan study good English at some of the finest Colleges and Universities in the country”, he added.
To promote tourism opportunities in Pakistan, he advised Pakistani travel agents and tour operators to open their offices in Turkey so that Turkish tourists could be acquainted about huge tourism opportunities across Pakistan.
Tolga Ucak informed that new office for Turkish Consulate in Karachi was being established on an area of 8,000 sq. yards near Chinese Consulate where more facilities will be provided along with induction of additional staff to facilitate the visitors and visa applicants.
Earlier, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, in his welcome remarks, briefed the Turkish CG about KCCI which is the premier and largest trade body of the country with a strong membership base of more than 55,000 direct and indirect members while around 500,000 plus taxpayers also fall under KCCI’s ambit through its member firms.
He said that the Karachi Chamber, which remains actively engaged in raising voice for resolving the issues being faced by the business and industrial community, also acts as a bridge between, Foreign Missions, government, law enforcement agencies, SMEs, small traders & industrialists of Karachi.
Referring to President Dr. Arif Alvi’s recent visit to Turkey, President KCCI said that Pakistan and Turkey have been enjoying excellent ties at the government-to-government level but unfortunately the same was not depicting at the lower level as the bonds between the business communities of the two countries were not satisfactory which requires collective efforts from both sides.
He said that despite having good brotherly relations, it was a matter of concern that no Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), Free Trade Agreement (FTA) or any other agreement exist between Pakistan and Turkey. “It was really necessary to have such an agreement, particularly the FTA which has already been negotiated from time to time and it was heartening to note that President Arif Alvi during his visit to the launching ceremony of 16th My Karachi Exhibition, also hinted that Pakistan-Turkey FTA will be inked soon which the business community would warmly welcome as it would surely give a big boost to the existing trade ties between the two brotherly countries”, he added.
Expressing concerns over limited trade volume between the two countries, Junaid Makda stressed the need for making collective efforts and exploring new avenues for trade enhancement. “To improve trade and investment ties, the Karachi Chamber is keen to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Istanbul Chamber which would help in bringing the business communities and create a win-win situation for both”, he added.
He said that Karachi, being the economic and financial hub of Pakistan, offers profitable opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to investors from Turkey. “Karachi is an attractive place for Turkish investors, who can surely earn maximum profits by setting up their businesses or undertaking joint ventures here”, he added.