Although bilateral trade between the UAE and Pakistan is satisfactory, the UAE Ambassador in Pakistan, Hammad Obaid Ibrahimi AlZaabi, stated that there is enormous potential to further strengthen trade and investment ties in agriculture, for which various bilateral agreements must be revitalized and updated.
During a meeting with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) during his visit, the envoy stated that UAE investors were interested in investing in Pakistan’s various sectors, with agriculture being the “most important.”
The ambassador believed that investment opportunities exist in all of Pakistan’s provinces, particularly in agriculture, textiles, and sports, among other sectors. “For us, Pakistan is a brotherly country, and we regard it as a second home,” he said, adding that the UAE Embassy engages actively with the Pakistani business community and does its best to facilitate their operations. The envoy assured that he would return to Karachi in September 2021 to meet with the city’s business community.
He also invited the Karachi Chamber to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai, which is scheduled to begin in October 2021 and will feature over 180 countries. “It will be an ideal opportunity for Pakistani businessmen to strengthen ties and explore opportunities for trade and investment cooperation.”
UAE has been issuing golden visas to investors with no investment limits and to professionals for a ten-year period, he said, urging the business community to take advantage of the opportunity.
Earlier in the day, KCCI President M Shariq Vohra welcomed the ambassador and stated that Pakistan and the UAE have had excellent relations for many years and that it was heartening to see a large number of Pakistanis working in the UAE and contributing significantly to its development and modernization.
“UAE investors must come to Pakistan, which offers lucrative opportunities in a variety of sectors, particularly agriculture,” he emphasized, referring to a statement made by Prime Minister Imran Khan during the visit of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, during which the UAE was invited to invest in oil and gas, logistics, ports, and construction.
Currently, Pakistan and the UAE trade exceeds $5 billion, but UAE investment in Pakistan has been limited.
He explained that investors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and other gulf countries are typically discouraged by the state’s inability to guarantee title when a foreign investor purchases land, which is not only complicated but also insecure due to the law’s lack of protection for the investor’s title.
Recognizing the gravity of the situation, the KCCI has raised it with both the federal and provincial levels of government in order to resolve it and simplify the procedure for attracting foreign investment, he added.
Although Pakistan has not yet received foreign direct investment, the country continues to perform exceptionally well in terms of exports, which increased by 61.4 percent year on year in June 2021, while the domestic markets, including steel, cement, and automobiles, performed well as well.
“The auto sector is booming, as evidenced by Pakistani banks issuing more than Rs280 billion in financing.” Four automobile manufacturers were already operating successfully in this market, and three more were in the works, he added.