Japanese investors shifting focus to Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Oct 9: Pakistan would be the next frontier of Japanese investors who now consider South-west Asian countries more opportune for investments in view of the size of young population and friendly investment policies, top official of Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) said here on Tuesday.

In a competitive world market, Japanese investors now want to shift their investment towards South-west Asia in view of congestion in opportunities in South East Asian countries where Japanese investors had already set up industrial plants, said Daisuke Hiratuska, Executive Vice President for South-West Asia of Japan External Trade Organisation while speaking to a group of newsmen here on Tuesday.

Pakistan is an ideal place for investment. Japanese investors had considered Pakistan ‘very dangerous’ country believing the media reports, but Jetro is playing its role to clear the misconception about Pakistan, he said.

In order to correct the biased perception and consider Pakistan as a destination for trade and investment in Asia, Jetro has organised a series of Pakistan-specific seminars in Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka where over 500 Japanese investors discussed Pakistan’s investment policy and opportunities for investments.

As an outcome of the seminars, Jetro lead a large business-oriented delegation comprising investors to Pakistan to gain first hand information about the investment climate.

He said the investment policy of Pakistan is very free and provides 50 per cent depreciation in the first year. Higher depreciation is good to attract investment, and in Pakistan it is high against 20 o 25 per cent in many countries, he said.

The members of delegation have only one objective: “to see Pakistan with their own eyes” and to change their misconception, Mr Hiratuska said.

Asked about the first-hand impression of the delegation, Mr Hiratuska replied that it was encouraging that the mindset is now changing. The delegation attended the Expo Pakistan in Karachi, met stakeholders and visited Bin Qasim and Port Qasim, he said.

Only 64 Japanese companies were currently operating in Pakistan as against 100 in India and hundreds in South-east Asian countries including China.

According to Jetro official, investment by big Japanese companies will help clear the misconception about Pakistan.

President Asif Zardari hosted a luncheon for the Japanese delegation on Tuesday, and stated that Pakistan can serve a market of over $3 billion in its neighbourhood by calling upon Japanese investors to benefit from the advantages.

He also urged foreign investors and entrepreneurs to take full advantage of enormous potential and opportunities for investment available in Pakistan.

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