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ISLAMABAD, Jan 1: Pakistan on Tuesday approved provision of insurance cover for visiting buyers to restore investor’s confidence.

The decision was taken after a briefing of the Commerce Secretary, Muneer Qureshi, to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.

As a result of this decision, the ministry of commerce has entered into an agreement with the National Insurance Company (NIC) for a comprehensive insurance of businesspersons visiting Pakistan for commercial purposes.

As per the decision, the ministry of commerce has now made arrangement with the National Insurance Company to provide insurance cover to foreigners who are invited by Pakistan businessmen to visit Pakistan for business purposes.

The company, he said, would ensure prospective foreigners for $200000, $300000 and $500000 for the period of their stay in Pakistan.

The government would provide adequate security to foreign investors/ businesspersons visiting Pakistan, he added. Originally, the concept of insurance cover for international visitors was introduced in trade policy for the year 2009-10 but its implementation was delayed because of bureaucratic red tape.

In the wake of 9/11, purchasers, inspectors and sourcing agents of overseas buyers are reluctant to travel to Pakistan and exporters have to meet them in other countries. This increases cost of doing business.

Apart from travel advisories issued by various countries that stop purchasers and importers from coming to Pakistan, insurance companies refuse to cover the period of stay in Pakistan on usual rate of premium.

The secretary informed the premier that over the last 30 years, 29 countries, including US, some member countries of EU, Australia had issued negative travel advisories to their citizens on travel to Pakistan.

This meant that either insurance cover was not available to their citizens when traveling to Pakistan or they had to pay a very high premium.

This step would remove a longstanding irritant in the way of foreigners who intend to visit Pakistan for business/investment pur-poses and encourage them to visit the country, said Mr Qureshi.

The premier appreciated the efforts of ministry of commerce to encourage trade and investment and directed the ministry to disseminate this information through Pakistan missions.

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