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Pak, Malaysia focus on trade diversification to improve bilateral trade volume

ISLAMABAD: Dr. Hasrul Sani Mujtabar, High Commissioner of Malaysia Thursday said that Pakistan and Malaysia were the first two Islamic countries that had signed FTA long time ago, but the bilateral trade was still confined to few products. 
He said this during his visit with a 13-member trade mission of Malaysia to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), said a statement issued here on Thursday. 
The delegation headed by Tunku Rizal was representing various sectors including hydropower generation, construction, manufacturing, water filtration technology, cosmetics, sea food etc. 
Speaking at the occasion, Hasrul Sani said there was an urgent need to focus on diversification of trade for improving trade figure. 
He said both countries had good relations in education and defense fields as over 5000 Pakistani students were studying in Malaysia while Malaysia used to send its military officers to Pakistan for training. 
However, he said it was high time that both countries should intensify efforts for improving two-way trade that would bring far better results for their economies. 
He said that Pakistan should further streamline its visa policy for Malaysian businessmen so that they could easily visit Pakistan for exploring new business opportunities. 
On the occasion, Tunku Rizal said that Pakistan and Malaysia had good potential to enhance cooperation in many fields and the two countries should encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations to explore all untapped areas of potential cooperation. 
He said Malaysia could help Pakistan in hydropower generation, designing and construction of industrial parks, hotels, tourism and other sectors. 
He hoped that visit of Malaysian delegation to Pakistan would lead to finalization of some business deals between the private sectors of both countries. 
In his welcome address, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, ICCI said that Pak-Malaysia signed FTA in 2007 had not achieved the desired results. 
He said the main reason of low trade volume was that both countries were doing trade in few items. 
He stressed that both should focus on new products to improve two-way trade. 
He said many Pakistani products including non-basmati rice, wheat, mangoes, halal food, seafood, meat products, cutlery and sports goods, spices, handicrafts, light engineering goods, hospital and surgical equipment, pharmaceuticals and gems and jewelry could find good market in Malaysia. 
He said many sectors of Pakistan's economy including palm oil cultivation and refining, construction of low cost housing schemes and highways, livestock and dairy, energy, education, transportation, IT, shipbreaking, food processing, sports goods and Halal industry offered good potential to Malaysian investors. 
He urged that more Malaysian investors should visit Pakistan to explore investment and joint ventures in CPEC projects and other areas of interest. 
Khalid Malik Senior Vice President ICCI, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Tariq Sadiq, Zafar Bakhtawari, Zahid Maqbool and others also spoke at the occasion.