LAHORE (APP) – Ambassador of Maldives to Pakistan Ahmed Saleem has urged upon the Pakistani business community to focus on improvement of contacts with their counterparts in Maldives which would be proved favorable for the two countries.
Talking to business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI), the Ambassador said that Maldivian businessmen were very much interested in enhancing economic cooperation and bilateral trade with Pakistan.
Ahmed Saleem said there was a huge potential in tourism sectors of the two countries and this sector offered not only huge opportunities to Pakistan and Maldives but would also bring both the countries closer to each other. He said Maldives has a huge potential of tourism and 1.5 million tourists visit Maldives annually.
On this occasion, LCCI Senior Vice President LCCI Ali Hussam Asgher said that there was also a huge scope of export of pharmaceutical products, rice, Halal food industry from Pakistan to Maldives, besides, some perishable items like fruit and vegetables could also be exported.
The Chamber had already declared Export Emergency in an effort to give a quantum jump to national exports, he said and added that Maldives and Pakistan enjoyed close bilateral relations and were also members of international organizations such as SAARC and OIC but both the countries yet to improve trade and investment relations. For instance, in 2018, the size of two-way trade was just US $ 6 million out of which Pakistan’s exports to Maldives were to the tune of US $ 5.7 million.
Major exports of Pakistan to Maldives were rice, pharmaceutical products, fresh fruits and nuts etc. While its major imports from Maldives consisted of petroleum gas only.
“It is a matter of concern that trade between Pakistan and Maldives remains very limited despite the fact the two countries are members of SAFTA,” Ali Hussam Asghar said and asserted that shipping cost between Karachi and Male was considerably higher as compared to shipping cost between Karachi and Colombo and this was one of the factors behind low trade volume between the two countries, hence there was a need of reducing shipping costs.
LCCI Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad said that both countries could do a lot to enhance two way trade relations through B2B meetings. He said that a Maldives catalogue show can also be organized at LCCI to bring both sides businessmen closer and make them aware of both sides hidden potential.