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The Warsaw Voice » Business » June 11, 2008
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Pakistani Business Mission Visits
June 11, 2008   
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A delegation of 14 members of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) visited Poland May 7-10 in response to increased interest among both Pakistani and Polish businesspeople in boosting contacts and increasing trade. The delegation, led by the chamber's president, Tanvir Sheikh, held meetings with Polish government officials and private-sector organizations here.

The delegation held its first ever meeting with the Polish Chamber of Commerce (KIG). Both sides discussed various issues related to information sharing; capacity building; holding the next Joint Business Council (JBC) in Pakistan; participation of a delegation led by the president of the Polish chamber in the Expo 2008 exhibition to be held in Karachi, Pakistan, Sept. 27-29 this year; and mutual support for businesses from both countries.

During a meeting with the president of the Polish Information and Foreign Investment Agency, Paweł Wojciechowski, the Pakistani visitors discussed the exchange of information on mutual investment incentives. The Pakistani side showed interest in the investment potential of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the eastern part of Poland.

The delegation also visited the offices of the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development. Both sides decided to enhance the good contacts established with the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agency of Pakistan (SMEDA) in the automotive sector.

The FPCCI president told Polish business leaders that thanks to structural transformations Pakistan improved its rating in the World Bank's Doing Business in 2007 survey. Moreover, the FPCCI president added that the Pakistani stock market was buoyant and a broad-based privatization program launched by the government was under way. He also said that strong foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows of $11 billion during 2004-07 provided a wealth of opportunities to foreign investors, including investors from Poland. In this context, he mentioned the immense potential that Pakistan has in the energy sector, especially coal.

Bilateral trade relations
During 2005-2007 bilateral trade ties between Pakistan and Poland were boosted with the signing of two Memorandums of Understanding, one between the chambers of commerce and industry in Pakistan and Poland, and the other between the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Agencies of both countries. Both agreements are expected to enhance the interaction of Pakistan's economic and trade institutions with their Polish counterparts. Since 2002 bilateral trade has tripled, with signs of further increase in the future. Renewed business interest has seen a steady stream of companies from both sides visiting the respective countries. In 2007, about 170 Polish companies visited Pakistan. Pakistani companies remain regular participants in trade fairs held in the western Polish city of Poznań and other exhibitions in Poland. The growing interest has seen a diversification of trade into newer sectors including dairy products, pharmaceuticals, CNG/LPG (compressed natural gas/liquefied petroleum gas) equipment manufacturing, and basic raw materials such as metallurgical coke.

Considering that this was the first visit by an FPCCI delegation to Poland, constructive dialogue between the private sectors was witnessed, said Seema Ilahi Baloch, Pakistan's ambassador to Poland.

In addition, business-to-business meetings were held between businessmen from both countries in a broad range of sectors including textiles, chemicals, sporting goods, hospital equipment, and furniture. The FPCCI president stressed the importance that Pakistan attaches to the development of its trade ties with Poland, considering Poland's position in Central and Eastern Europe.

He stressed the importance of maintaining people-to-people contacts, which in themselves should help maintain the momentum which the two countries have built up in mutual relations.
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