ISLAMABAD: The growing Turkish involvement in socio-economic development of Pakistan is a clear manifestation of the desire of the leadership on both sides to transform this strong political and cultural relationship into a robust economic partnership.

This was stated by Charge d’ Affaires of Pakistan Syed Ali Asad Gilani while speaking at the Pakistan-Turkey Business Oppor­tunities Conference on Saturday, organised by the Rawalpindi Cha­mber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), in collaboration with All Industrialists and Businessmen Association of Turkey (TUMSIAD), in Istanbul.

The two-day event is intended to engage the private sectors from both countries, strengthen B2B ties, and boost bilateral trade and investment between the two countries with participation by over 700 businessmen from Pakistan and representatives of over 150 Turkish companies.

“Pakistan has over 185 billion tonnes of coal reserves which is equivalent to 618bn barrels of crude oil reserves in terms of energy output, while the country has 31.3tr cubic metres of natural gas reserves,” said the President of RCCI Raja Amir Iqbal in his presentation about business opportunities in Pakistan.

He urged the businessmen of both countries to play their role to enhance bilateral trade, which was about $610m in 2016. Mr Iqbal also briefed the Turkish businessmen about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which would transform the entire region into a hub of economic activities.

Mr Gilani stressed that Turkish corporate footprints on Pakistan’s economic landscape are emerging fast. Metro buses; solid waste management; construction of motorways; Arcelik’s $258m worth acquisition of Dawlance; Zorlu’s undertaking of 300MW of solar power generation at the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Energy Park; and Hayat Kimya’s plans to invest $50m for setting up a baby diaper manufacturing facility are some of the examples of Turkish participation and investment in Pakistan, he added.

Chairman of the Anatolian Tigers Businessmen Association (ASKON), Mr Mustafa Koca, also the chief guest on the occasion, said that 15,000 companies of ASKON were ready to support Pakistani companies and institutions. “Turkish businessmen are eager to share their experience, knowledge and capital with their Pakistani brothers,” Mr Koca said.

The conference was followed by B2B sessions giving the participating companies the opportunity to explore ties for joint ventures and trade in various sectors including construction, textile, services, energy, tourism, etc.

Meanwhile, the 30th RCCI International Achievement Awards ceremony was also held. Awards were presented to successful Pakistani companies and entrepreneurs for their outstanding performance.

Addressing guests, the Deputy Economy Minister Fatih Metin said that on the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey was negotiating a comprehensive free trade agreement with Pakistan.

He said “Our target is to enhance bilateral trade to $5bn in a short-term.”

Chairman TUMSIAD, Mr Yasar Dogan in his address said that TUMSIAD had established an office in Pakistan adding they were keen to enhance their collaboration in textiles, transportation, housing, and tourism sectors.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2017

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