Abu Dhabi: Pakistan ambassador to the UAE expects more investments to flow into Pakistan following the visit of the newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan to the UAE last week.
“We are very positive and hopeful that more investments will flow into Pakistan following the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister to the UAE last week. The two sides have decided to take the relationship to the next level and expand it further in all areas including investment, trade, defence and security cooperation,” said Moazzam Ahmad Khan speaking to Gulf News in an exclusive interview.
Imran Khan visited the UAE on September 19 and held talks with His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces to further boost bilateral ties between the two countries.
According to a joint statement issued by Pakistan and the UAE, the two sides discussed, among other things strengthening economic cooperation and increasing bilateral investments and exerting all possible efforts to eliminate obstacles and overcome difficulties that would obstruct the smooth flow of trade and investment between the two countries.
The meeting also discussed issues of regional and international dimensions, notably the fight against the spread of extremism and terrorism in the region.
Speaking on the visit, ambassador Khan said the Pakistan Prime Minister was literally on a one-day tour starting with Saudi Arabia where he had fruitful and productive discussions with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.
“In the UAE, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed was very kind and gracious to have received him at the airport. There were very productive and positive discussions followed by dinner.”
“The warmth and the closeness that you saw reflects the special relationship between these two countries which is not only an exemplary relationship, but it really is a people-centric relationship.”
“Both countries feel we really need to take this mutually beneficial relationship to the next level, further expand it and further diversify it and look at all options as to how we can make this relationship more beneficial for the people of Pakistan as well as the UAE.”
Trade and investment
On the trade and investment front, Khan said bilateral trade between the two countries reached $8.6 billion (Dh31.59 billion) for the financial year 2017-18 compared to $6.2 billion in the previous financial year (2016-17).
There were $7.2 billion worth of exports from the UAE to Pakistan mostly consisting oil and petrochemicals and exports from Pakistan touched $1.5 billion for 2017-18.
UAE companies are also investing heavily in Pakistan, especially in telecom, refinery and ports, among others.
“Total investment from the UAE is $3 to $4 billion including investments from Mubadala, DP World, Etisalat and others.”
Ambassador Khan also said Pakistan economy is doing reasonably well with a GDP growth of 5.2 per cent last year, but acknowledged that there are still some challenges to overcome, especially in power generation sector.
“There are still some challenges like power generation and we’ve not been able to narrow down trade deficit. The new government wants to revamp the whole economic sector with new initiatives to boost growth.”
On the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Pakistan envoy said it is a very important and strategic investment initiative with China committing $56 billion for infrastructure and power generation.
“We really feel that this initiative can turn Pakistan into a hub for trade, economic connectivity and industrialisation. Even Saudi Arabia has agreed to become the third party. We would love and welcome the UAE to benefit from this initiative.”