Abu Dhabi: The size of Pakistan-UAE bilateral trade touched $7 billion in the last fiscal year ended June 30 with the balance of trade in favour of the UAE, Pakistan's outgoing ambassador to the UAE Ahsan Ullah Khan said.
"Pakistan's exports to the UAE during 2007-2008 were valued at $1.8 billion as compared with $1.3 billion the previous year," he said. "Pakistan's imports from the UAE for the same period rose to $5.2 billion from $3.4 billion," he added.
Khan, however, said, "The foreign direct investment from the UAE in Pakistan in the last fiscal fell to $800 million from $1.4 billion the previous year."
He further informed that annual remittances to Pakistan from the UAE through official banking channels by non-resident Pakistanis rose to $1.2 billion from $860 million the year earlier.
Pakistan's commercial counsellor stationed at its embassy in Abu Dhabi, Bilal Khan Pasha, said the UAE has now become Pakistan's second-largest trading partner after the US.
Pasha said the UAE'simports from Pakistan constitute mainly petr-oleum products, rice, textiles, gold jewellery, precious stones and leather products.
The UAE's exports to Pakistan are primarily crude oil, chemicals, rubber, plastic, machinery, engineering items and pure gold.
"For 2008-2009, we plan to export items worth $2 billion to the UAE," said Pasha.
Khalifa refinery: Cost escalates
The cost of construction of the proposed $5 billion Khalifa coastal refinery near Karachi in a joint venture with the Abu Dhabi government-owned International Petroleum Investment Company (Ipic) is going to significantly escalate due to associated new projects, Pakistan's outgoing ambassador Ahsan Ullah Khan said yesterday.
The support infrastructure for the 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) refinery will include a 250 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant, a grid station, a seaport jetty and a city to accommodate refinery workers, he said.
The joint venture project was first proposed in 2005. Ipic holds a controlling 76 per cent stake in the refinery project with Pak Arab Refinery Company (Parco) holding the remaining share.
Bilal Khan Pasha, commercial counsellor at Pakistan's embassy in Abu Dhabi, said the construction of the refinery will start next year in April, while the commercial production of petroleum products is scheduled to begin in December 2011. "The financial closure of the project is due in March 2009," said Pasha, adding that the refinery will primarily produce high-speed diesel that will service Pakistan's domestic market for oil products.