PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif along with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah receives a guard of honour after his arrival at the Bayan Palace on Tuesday.—AFP
PRIME Minister Nawaz Sharif along with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah receives a guard of honour after his arrival at the Bayan Palace on Tuesday.—AFP

KUWAIT CITY: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah have reiterated their desire to further strengthen relations between the two countries.

During a meeting here on Tuesday, the two leaders discussed issues of mutual interests.

Mr Sharif said that Pakistan wished to further enhance its relations with Kuwait in all spheres. He said the Joint Ministerial Commission of the two countries provided the best platform to take stock of bilateral cooperation in various economic sectors and setting new benchmarks to carry this cooperation forward.

Sharif proposes establishment of joint business council

Referring to the level of bilateral trade between the two countries, he reiterated that this needed to be further enhanced to its fullest potential.

Encouraging greater private sector interaction could enhance the existing level of trade as well as bridge the imbalance in existing trade patterns, he said.

The prime minister proposed establishment of a Pakistan-Kuwait joint business council between two apex chambers of commerce to address these issues.

He said there was great potential for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, construction, poultry, livestock and fisheries and to this end meetings of experts of the two countries be held to work out a plan of action.

He also emphasised the importance of early resumption of Gulf Cooperation Council-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement negotiations with the support of Kuwait and spoke of the need for lifting of visa restrictions on Pakistani nationals as it would remove a major hurdle in freedom of movement for the business community.

He informed the Kuwaiti emir that Pakistan was an investment-friendly country and an attractive destination for foreign investors, due to its liberal investment policy and high rate of return.

There were ample opportunities for investors, with 100 per cent equity or joint ventures in Pakistan, he said and added that over 1,000 leading multinational companies were currently successfully operating in various sectors of the country.

The prime minister said there were a number of energy and infrastructure development projects in Pakistan that could be considered by foreign investors.

“We would welcome further investments from Kuwait in mega infrastructure and energy projects being undertaken in Pakistan,” he emphasised.

More than 114,000 Pakistanis lived in Kuwait, which was evidence of the strong ties existing between the two countries, he said, adding that it also confirmed the immense importance that Pakistan attached to relations with Kuwait.

During the talks, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Special Assistant to the PM on Foreign Affairs Tariq Fatemi and Board of Investment Chairman Miftah Ismaeel were present.

The prime minister and the Kuwaiti emir also held a one-on-one meeting followed by the delegation-level talks.

After completing his two-day official visit to Kuwait, Mr Sharif returned to Islamabad later in the day.

At the Kuwait Interna­tional Airport, he was seen off by Sheikh Salem Al-Jaber, Adviser to the Kuwaiti PM, and other senior officials.

Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2017


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