“The Maldivian businessmen are very much interested in enhancing economic cooperation and bilateral trade with Pakistan. The main purpose of this delegation’s visit is to commence a new chapter of bilateral relations”. This was stated by Mr Abdul Bari Abdulla, Member of Parliament and Leader of the Maldives delegation to Karachi at an exclusive meeting organized by the Economic Council of Employers’ Federation of Pakistan.
Mr Abdulla informed that there is an imperative need to reduce shipping cost between Karachi and Malé which is 60% more than the shipping cost between Karachi and Colombo. He said that generally, businessmen trade with their old established importers and exporters. There is this psychological factor of confidence among both parties. Ahmed Marzoog, Member of Parliament, said that he is also an importer of rice, fruits and vegetables from Pakistan. He said there is a growing demand for building materials, cement, furniture and even sand. He also said there is a substantial need for doctors and paramedics. He said now trade with China is increasing and there will be more Chinese goods entering the Maldives.
Earlier, Majyd Aziz, President EFP, in his welcome address stated that the bilateral trade is very low and there is ample scope for enhancement of trade. He added that under SAFTA agreement, there is every possibility to source for products that Pakistan can supply.
Majyd Aziz informed that EFP is a member of South Asian Forum of Employers and he is the President of SAFE. He said that since Maldives is not a member of SAFE, he would like to invite the President of the Maldives Business Federation to attend the Annual Meeting of SAFE in New Delhi in February 2019 as an observer.
Ismail Suttar, Chairman EFP Economic Council, highlighted the need for interacting with foreign delegations and diplomats to find ways and means to increase bilateral business relations. He said that the Economic Council is the right forum to assist foreign businessmen and industrialists with their local counterparts.
Zaki Ahmed Khan, Vice President EFP, discussed pharmaceuticals exports. He said that Pakistan is exporting to many countries but still not to the Maldives. He also said that pharma products from Pakistan are certified Halal.
Asif Zuberi, Co-Chairman of EFP-EC, also said that EFP represents industries and large and medium enterprises, unlike Chambers and Associations who are dominated by traders. Therefore, the services of EFP-EC are offered to all foreign institutions and individuals.
The meeting was attended by other members of EFP-EC, Zafar Tapal Hon Consul General of Maldives and representatives from TDAP. Mementoes and copies of EFP Economic Vision 2030 were also presented to the delegation.
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