ISLAMABAD: Japan and Pakistan have great potential to expand bilateral trade and economic ties, Japan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Kuninori Matsuda said on Monday.

The ambassador said Pakistan’s major exports to Japan included cotton, apparel, fruits, oil seeds, Oleagis fruits, grain seeds, products of animal origin, salt, sulphur, stone, plaster, lime and cement, leather and leather goods, animal gut and harness.

He added that both countries have more potential to increase bilateral trade from current volume and double the figures to exploit resources in agriculture-based industry and value addition.

Pakistan and Japan agreed to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in November for export of thousands of hi-tech skilled labourers from Pakistan to Japan.

He said Japan plans to attract around 350,000 blue-collar workers from all over the world over five years by 2025 and further enhance this number by 2030.

Japan would provide jobs to around 350,000 workers from 10 different countries, including Pakistan.

Matsuda said Japan would would accommodate Pakistan’s labour force in 14 major sectors including nursing care, building clinic, agriculture, fisheries, hotel management, food and beverages, aircraft maintenance and airports ground handling staff, shipbuilding, material processing, industrial machinery, constructions, car mechanic, electronics and electronic machinery in cards to import skilled labour force .

He said professional skills and proficiency in Japanese language would be must for workers to work in Japan under this policy.

He said that Japan was also looking for enhancing the cooperation in auto parts industry for enhancing the capacity of local labour and providing employment opportunities in Pakistan.

Japanese companies were interested to establish industrial auto part units in Pakistan, he said while adding that Japanese firms directly invested in auto production in Pakistan.

He said that Japanese brands including Suzuki and Toyota cars were popular in the country, because it meets the local demand efficiently.

Recently Japan announced a grant aid of $5.2 million to support agri-food and industry development in the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces, he said.

The diplomat said the amount would be utilised for enhancement of productivity and capacities of relevant sectors in the cattle meat value chain in districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Published in Dawn, November 12th, 2019