Islamabad: Pakistan and the United Kingdom have resolved to boost bilateral trade to £3 billion (Dh16,763 billion) by 2015, said a joint statement issued on Sunday at the end of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s two-day official visit.
During the visit Cameron and host Prime Minister Mohammad Nawaz Sharif held wide-ranging talks with focus on bilateral relations and peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.
They reiterated their confidence in the future of Pakistan and UK relations, committing to intensive co-operation as equals and agreed to find new ways to make the close and cooperative friendship beneficial for the people in both countries, the statement said.
As the first foreign head of government to visit Pakistan since the new government took office earlier this month, Cameron expressed his confidence in the future of Pakistan, congratulating its people and institutions on the steps they have taken towards a strong, stable democracy.
“Building on the existing warm friendship and confidence in Pakistan’s economic future, the Prime Ministers focused on trade, pledging a new target of increasing bilateral trade to £3 billion by 2015, up from their previous commitment of £2.5 billion,” said the joint statement.
Over 100 British companies are operating successfully in Pakistan. These includes Mott MacDonald in infrastructure development; Unilever in consumer goods; and GlaxoSmithKline in pharmaceuticals.
A major British company Orion Energy has concluded a joint venture partnership with Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) to utilise Pakistan’s natural gas reserves to generate electricity.
The second annual trade conference will be hosted this autumn in London to encourage more companies to follow their success, according to the statement.
Both the sides will encourage strong participation from the energy sector. Prime Minister Sharif pledged his government’s full support to creating the right environment to attract further investment.
Sharif informed Cameron about his ambitious plans to enhance growth, create jobs and reduce poverty and to take tough decisions on solving the energy crisis, increasing trade and investment.
The UK will continue to play its leading role in the international community to support Pakistan to enhance economic growth, including through increased market access to the European Union, the joint statement said.
Under the framework of the Enhanced Strategic Dialogue the two governments will continue their regular dialogue on economic reform.
The two prime ministers acknowledged the positive contribution of the British and Pakistani communities living in each other’s countries towards the development and prosperity of both countries.
Cameron announced that the British Council would be opening a library in Lahore and a cultural space in Karachi.
He paid tribute to the people of Pakistan who had sacrificed so much and still clearly rejected the terrorist violence and intimidation.
The UK will work in partnership with Pakistan providing expertise in support of Pakistan’s developing strategy on counter terrorism, Cameron assured.
The UK will provide more equipment to tackle the scourge of improvised explosive devices and support Pakistan in improving the security of its infrastructure, including sharing the UK’s expertise in safeguarding sporting events.
Sharif apprised Cameron about the ongoing Pakistan-India Peace process and both underscored the importance of peace, stability and security in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their support for an Afghan-led reconciliation process.
Sharif accepted an invitation to visit the UK to carry forward the process of further enhancing cooperation between the two countries, the joint statement said.