LAHORE: A five-member Indonesian parliamentary delegation led by Chairman Bilateral Cooperation Group Mohammad Hatta visited the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry here Saturday and discussed bilateral trade and investment with Pakistani traders.
LCCI president Irfan Qaiser Sheikh gave a detailed briefing to the Indonesian parliamentarians on available trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan. Chamber's Vice President Saeeda Nazar, Executive Committee Members Husnain Reza Mirza and Sheikh Mohammad Ayub also spoke on the occasion. Both the sides also exchanged views on bilateral cooperation in different sectors of economy.
Leader of the Indonesian delegation Mohammad Hatta said Indonesia also values high its relations with Pakistan and desires to further strengthen the existing relations.
While, underlining the need for frequent exchanges of business delegations between the two brotherly countries, he said, it would ensure opportunities of better understanding and to learn from each other experiences. He said, the Chambers of Commerce in the two countries should play a proactive role to jack up the volume of two-way trade to $ 5 billion in coming years.
Mohammad Hatta said a number of parliamentary committees had already been constituted in Indonesia to finalise a strategy to give boost to trade and economic relations with brotherly countries.
The LCCI President invited Indonesian businessmen to visit Pakistan to have first hand knowledge about the available business opportunities as the LCCI wants to further strengthen the existing relations through enhanced interactions and economic cooperation.
Irfan Sheikh said despite being the members of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and having old historical links and cordial relations, these distinctive attributes hardly get reflected in our trade and investment relations.
He said two way trade figures show that in 2008, we were trading with each other to the tune of $ 1.26 billion which had dropped to US$ 750 million in 2010. That drastic drop in bilateral trade was due to substantial decrease in imports from Indonesia, which stood at $ 1.19 billion in 2008 but fell to the level of $ 750 million in 2010. "We will certainly like to increase the volume of our exports to Indonesia which are too low in proportion to the size of our economies, but in last four years, our exports have averaged around $ 67.5 million," he added.
Although Indonesia has offered market access to 220 Pakistani items and in response to that Pakistan has agreed to reduce duty on 288 Indonesian products but this list needs to be expanded for greater trade opportunities for the businessmen of both the countries. "Certainly, we together can expedite these things in the best interest of both the economies."