Karachi, Birmingham chambers ink deal to enhance UK-Pakistan trade ties

By Our Correspondent
February 29, 2024
President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh and President Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Nasir Awan can be seen signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) On the occasion of the Karachi, Birmingham Chambers ink deal. — Facebook/Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry

KARACHI: The UK and Pakistan are seeking to boost their trade ties as the former launches a new scheme to facilitate exports from developing countries, trade officials said.


Dr. Michelle Kristy, leader of the U.K.-Pakistan Inward Trade Mission, urged the business community of Karachi to take advantage of the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), which offers preferential tariffs and reduced barriers for eligible products.

"DCTS could enable more trade flow between the UK and Pakistan, and this is a very good time to explore the benefits of exporting to the UK or vice versa," she said at a meeting with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday.

The trade mission, which includes representatives of various UK-based companies and chambers of commerce, is visiting Karachi, Lahore and Sialkot to strengthen bilateral trade relations and explore potential partnerships.

The KCCI and the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce also signed a memorandum of understanding to support each other and undertake initiatives for enhancing trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

Kristy also referred to the launch of the International Trade Centre's export handbook, which provides guidance to Pakistani companies on how to access the UK market and the details of the DCTS.

She requested the KCCI to upload the handbook on its website for the benefit of Pakistani businesses. "The UK-Pakistan Inward Trade Mission’s visit to KCCI proves to be a good beginning and more such efforts in collaboration with the UK government will also be made in future for the benefit of Pakistani companies," Kristy said.

Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, president of the KCCI, welcomed the trade mission and said that the relationship between Pakistan and the UK has always been characterized by a deep sense of friendship and cooperation.

"Today, as we stand on the crossover of a new era, it is crucial that we continue to build on this foundation of goodwill and strengthen our economic ties," Sheikh said. The KCCI chief said Pakistan was a country with immense potential, offering a diverse range of opportunities for investors. Karachi, as its economic hub, was home to a multitude of industries, including textiles, pharmaceuticals, software development and more.

"Our business environment is conducive to growth, with a skilled workforce and a supportive government committed to creating a business-friendly ecosystem." He also expressed appreciation to the trade mission and the International Trade Centre for organizing the inward trade mission, which provided an invaluable opportunity to KCCI members to connect and explore potential partnerships.

"Our aim is to facilitate productive one-to-one business meetings and networking sessions, where you can gain deeper insights into the Pakistani market and its specific requirements for exporting to the UK."

Business leader Zubair Motiwala said Pakistan and UK have been enjoying cordial relations since the inception of Pakistan but unfortunately, UK was not there amongst the four largest trading partners of Pakistan.

“With the arrival of today’s UK-Pakistan Inward Trade Mission, I hope that trade and understanding between the two friendly countries will improve further.”

Motiwala was of the opinion that UK and Pakistani diaspora in UK can help Pakistan by importing more and coming into action by undertaking joint ventures in Pakistan particularly in the value addition and technology transfer.

“Our problem is that we have failed to add value to our raw materials which are being exported to our otherwise competitors in the world. We need someone who could bring in the technology and investment from UK for value addition of our products,” he said, adding that Thailand produces around 3000 items from rice alone through value addition and Pakistan was just happy with exporting rice worth $3 billion, hence, this was an area where Pakistani and UK companies could work together for value addition.