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ISLAMABAD: Qatari Minister for Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassim Bin Mohammed Al Thani said on Thursday that ‘FIFA 2022’ will provide a big opportunity for increasing economic and trade relations between Qatar and Pakistan.

The Qatari minister during a meeting with Prime Minister retired Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk indicated other areas for trade, investment and economic cooperation including food processing, petrochemical and investment in special economic zones.

Jassim was on a short visit to Pakistan with senior officials and a 50-member high-powered Qatari business delegation representing food, agriculture, livestock, aviation, maritime and shipping sectors.

The ‘2022 FIFA World Cup’ is scheduled to take place in Qatar.

The delegation indicated keen interest in enhancing cooperation, and it was agreed that business-to-business contact will be increased amongst private companies of the two countries. Qatar will explore opportunities for increasing trade, investment and economic cooperation on the basis of specific projects.

The prime minister highlighted the importance of increasing trade and economic cooperation between the two countries. Rice export to Qatar, work visas for skilled, and semi-skilled labour force and investment in petrochemical and food processing came under discussion as priority areas.

Earlier, addressing a Pakistan-Qatar Business conference, which was co-chaired by Minister for Commerce and Textile Misbahur Rehman, the Qatari minister said that Pakistan is one of the six countries the Qatari government has prioritised to strengthen economic partnership with.

The conference was also attended by the Qatari ambassador to Pakistan, Saqi Bin Mubarak Al-Mansouri.

On the Pakistani side, over 150 businessmen and officials from Ministry of Commerce, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company as well as Board of Investment were present.

Jassim said the two countries should have joint ventures in food processing, petrochemicals and other sectors. He also informed the attendees that Qatar Airways is planning to increase the number of flights to Pakistan.

The event was followed by high level business-to-business meetings between Qatari and Pakistani counterparts in areas of interest including food, fruits and vegetables, rice, seafood, sugar, wheat, poultry, processed food and meat.

Leading Pakistani companies on the occasion also displayed their products to lure Qatari companies.

Qatar has positive trade balance with Pakistan. Its total exports to Pakistan in the last fiscal year have shown 44 per cent increase, while Pakistan’s exports to Qatar have indicated 75pc increase during the same period.

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2018