Saturday, September 17, 2011


Tuesday September 13, 2011





Mr. Zafar Mahmood,
Secretary of Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan;

Mr. Tariq Iqbal Puri,
Chief Executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP);

Dr. Wong Lai Sum,

His Excellency Masood Khalid,
High Commissioner of Pakistan in Malaysia;

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

1. Assalamualaikum W.B.T, Salam 1Malaysia and a very good morning to all of you. Since it is Syawal, please accept my warmest Eid Mubarak greetings.

2. It is indeed an honour and privilege for me to be here this morning to officiate the Malaysia-Pakistan Business Forum, organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and supported by MATRADE. I believe this Forum together with the Seminar on Investment Opportunities in Pakistan held on 31st of March 2011 in JW Marriott, Kuala Lumpur shall provide the momentum in enhancing our bilateral engagement.

3. I am pleased to see such good turnout today. I was informed that there are at least 100 Malaysian businessmen and senior executives attending this Business Forum. I am pleased to also welcome the delegation from Pakistan led by Mr. Zafar Mahmood, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan and Mr. Tariq Iqbal Puri, Chief Executive Trade Development Authority of Pakistan.

4. I understand that this delegation consists of prominent Pakistani businessmen dealing with textile & clothing, agriculture and food products, leather and leather products, as well as electronics. I wish you all a productive networking and business matching session.

Distinguished Guests,

5. Malaysia and Pakistan have always maintained close bilateral relations. Trade assumes a key role in forging close ties between our countries. A watershed in our bilateral engagement is the signing of the Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Partnership Agreement (MPCEPA) in 2007. The Agreement which came into force on 1st January 2008 represented Malaysia's first bilateral free trade agreement with a member of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and with the South Asian region.

6. This comprehensive and substantive agreement encompassed liberalization of trade in goods and services, investment, as well as bilateral technical cooperation and capacity building in areas such as intellectual property protection, construction, tourism, healthcare and telecommunications.

7. This year marks yet another milestone for the MPCEPA whereby trade officials from Malaysia and Pakistan met at the MPCEPA Review Committee on 12 September 2011. The Committee monitors the performance of the MPCEPA, identify issues that are impeding implementation of MPCEPA and recommend measures to address those issues.

8. Since the implementation of MPCEPA in 2008, bilateral trade has increased steadily. Malaysia is now among the top trading partners of Pakistan from ASEAN. In 2010:

• Pakistan was Malaysia’s:

 21st largest trading partner;
 17th largest export destination; and
 49th largest source of imports;

• Among OIC member countries, Pakistan was Malaysia's:

 4th largest trading partner;
 3rd largest export destination; and
 9th largest source of imports;

• Malaysia was Pakistan’s:

 25th largest export destination; and
 5th largest source of imports.

9. Our total trade grew by 133 per cent from USD873.3 million (RM3.42 billion) in 2006 to USD2.48 billion (RM7.99 billion) in 2010. Malaysia’s exports to Pakistan amounted to USD2.33 billion (RM7.52 billion) in 2010, an increase of 31.3 per cent.

10. Malaysia’s major exports to Pakistan include palm oil, chemical products, electrical and electronic products, textiles and clothing, and machinery, appliances and parts.

11. On the other hand we imported USD147.8 million (RM475.9 million) of goods from Pakistan in 2010 as compared to USD149.5 (RM525.8 million) in 2009. From January to June this year, total trade was valued at USD1.32 billion (RM4.0 billion) which grew by 11.7 per cent from the same period in 2010. Malaysia imported mainly textiles and clothing, vegetables, seafood, and chemical as well as chemical products from Pakistan.

12. In terms of FDI, Pakistan was ranked 19th last year in terms of approved investment in the manufacturing sector. As of May 2011, approved investments from Pakistan are worth USD292.3 million (RM1,096.2 mil.) in 25 projects. These investments were mainly in paper, printing and publishing, food manufacturing, textiles and textile products, leather and leather products, and scientific and measuring products.

13. Investments from Malaysia into Pakistan for the period up to 2010 amounted to USD819.5 million (RM2.6 bilion). Malaysian companies operating in Pakistan are mainly in infrastructure development and construction, petroleum exploration and energy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

14. Trade and investment between Malaysia and Pakistan is still relatively low. We continue to trade in a rather narrow range of products. There is therefore, untapped potential to enhance two-way trade. Trade promotion activities such as we are having today are very useful.

15. The role of the private sector role is also very crucial in implementing the trade and investment framework created by our governments. This Forum is certainly a step in the right direction.
16. I am also enthused by the formation of the Malaysia-Pakistan Business Council (Mal-Pak) on 2nd of July 2010. To date, Mal-Pak has 31 members and further increase of its membership can be expected. In any case, it is not the numbers that we are looking for but more on the effectiveness and quality of the engagement. Business councils assume a significant role in networking and building rapport with government agencies to facilitate trade and reduce the overall cost of doing business. It is also the role of business councils to actively identify and disseminate business opportunities quickly and establish the infrastructure to enhance information and resource sharing. This will enable the private sector to leverage on the favourable business environment and opportunities that are created. This will help keep the small and medium enterprises better informed and benefit from the evolving opportunities.

17. In this regard, I would like to encourage our businesses to engage with the Malaysia-Pakistan Business Council. The Council can advise on how to avoid pitfalls and reduce start-up risks and facilitate your entry into the Pakistani and Malaysian markets.

Distinguished Guests,

18. Today’s programme includes several presentations by prominent speakers who will talk on business opportunities in the Pakistani markets. As for Malaysian companies, please utilise this opportunity to interact, network and build relationships. I would like to also urge Malaysian businessmen to further deepen your understanding of the workings of MPCEPA in order to gain maximum benefit from it.

19. Similarly, I would also like to encourage Pakistani companies to find suitable local partners to expand your business presence in Malaysia. Malaysia is an ideal gateway for Pakistan businesses seeking to explore opportunities in ASEAN and the Far East.

20. Let me thank you once again for your participation in today's business forum. I wish you every success in your business networking and business matching endeavours. I would also like to extend my sincere appreciation to the organisers for their kind invitation.

21. Now, it is my pleasure to formally open the Malaysia-Pakistan Business Forum.

Thank you.

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