S Africa keen to enhance trade ties with Pakistan

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SIALKOT  South African high commissioner in Pakistan Mpendula Kumalo has pledged to make an all-out effort to remove all the bottlenecks to promote the bilateral trade between Pakistan and South Africa. 

Talking to the industrialists and exporters during his visit to some leading industrial units in Sialkot, he added that South Africa was keen to enhance the trade and business ties with Pakistan, making investment in tourism sector and setting up several joint ventures in different trade fields.

The South African high commissioner vowed to make an all-out effort to boost bilateral trade ties, saying that the time was ripe to further strengthen trade ties and increase the trade volume in favour of Pakistan.

He said that both the countries were enjoying cordial trade relations. He offered some direct trade relations to Sialkot business community, besides pledging full support and technical assistance to ensure easy access of Pakistan business community to international South African trade markets.

Later, he addressed an important meeting at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said that adequate efforts would be made taking trade, economic and investment relations to high level between South Africa and Pakistan. The envoy said that South African investors would be motivated to invest in Pakistan in various trade fields.

He said that South Africa is a “gateway” to African Market and Pakistani investors and businessmen should come forward to initiate their business and get benefits, adding that there were opportunities in South Africa in trade and business. The high commissioner said that there was great need of collective efforts for increasing the bilateral trade and business communities of both the countries could play their significant role in this regard.

The High Commissioner said, “At this juncture, we are  direly needed trained workforce at and Pakistan should provide training opportunities for our youth in different trade fields to enable South Africa to overcome the unemployment problem. At present, about 20 to 22 percent unemployment is hampering economic stability of the country.”

On the occasion, the Sialkot businessmen pointed out that there was no doubt that Pakistan made sports goods, surgical instruments, leather products, gloves of all sorts, textile items, sports wear, martial arts uniforms & accessories, musical instruments, kitchen ware, hollow ware, knives, cutlery items and military uniform badges etc. could find a good market in South African. The main hurdle is direct link between business communities of both the countries, they said..

The meeting was told that Pakistan and South Africa were desirous of forging close relations with each other to achieve the goal of mutual economic benefits, as there was an unlimited scope for expanding trade ties between Pakistan and South Africa. However, the major bottleneck in promotion of trade ties was lack of timely information to the business opportunities.

They said that Sialkot exporters have a great potential to explore and capture the international trade markets of South Africa by exporting their world class traditional and non-traditional export products. For improving bilateral trade, Sialkot exporters suggested that exchange of trade delegations and one-to-one meetings of businessmen of both the sides may be arranged.

“This would require both sides to ensure a simple visa process to enable the businessmen to meet each other as and when needed. Sialkot is a unique city enriched with its historical background and strong industrial base. It is one of the most important economic centres, recognised as the only export oriented city of the country.  With the gradual growth of exports, the industrialists decided to setup a platform for facilitation in business activities and other relating matters,” they added.

The Sialkot exporters told the visiting South African High Commissioner that most of the developed countries are importing surgical instruments from Sialkot. “In leather products and textile sportswear, we compete with other countries, in quality and style,” they said.

They urged the South African to motivate the investors in South Africa to set up joint ventures in Sialkot Export Processing Zone to avail the attractive benefits and incentives available for them in the zone. Availability of skilled labour in Sialkot would add further value to such ventures, to result in cost effective production.  Joint ventures in fashion jackets, motorbike garments, martial arts equipment, and gloves would be the most profitable option for the investors, they added.

Later, talking to the newsmen at Sialkot, Mr Kumalo said that there were bright opportunities of setting up joint ventures with Sialkot-Pakistan business community in different trade fields, as the several South African companies were showing keen interest in this regard.

Earlier, he also visited several leading industrial units in Sialkot amid tight security. He witnessed the internationals standard craftsmanship of Sialkot based artisans and said that the Sialkot exporters have a great potential to explore and capture the international trade markets of South African by exporting their world class traditional and non-traditional export products. He also highly hailed the unique export culture of Sialkot.

Courtesy:  Nation

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