TOKYO: Ajinomoto Co Inc., a leading food and chemical firm in Japan is keen to increase its investment in Pakistan to capitalise on the demand of halal-certified seasonings, an envoy said.
“Ajinomoto, Pak Suzuki and several other Japanese companies have agreed to double their investments in Pakistan,” newly-appointed Pakistani Ambassador to Japan Asad Majid told The News in an interview.
“We are working to bring more investment from Japan to Pakistan,” Majid said. Ajinomoto’s products are already being marketed in the country through a joint-venture company. Japanese firm holds majority stake in the venture, selling meat-flavored coating and fried chicken seasoning.
Pak Suzuki, which is a subsidiary of Japanese Suzuki, is the biggest automaker in terms of economical passenger cars. Majid said Pakistan’s exports to Japan amounted to $200 million, while Japanese exports to the country stood at $1.8 billion in 2016.
“Pakistan is working hard to reduce this trade gap between the two countries,” he added. The bilateral trade volume is much below the actual potential. Japanese government had also proposed Pakistan to sign a free trade agreement and wanted to extend cooperation in information technology and textile sectors.
Majid said Japan is a biggest manufacturing partner in Pakistan and its companies provide employments to thousands of workers. “Pakistan has a long historical relation with Japan. Some of Japanese banks and trading houses operated in Karachi before the country came into being,” he added. “Japan is running a lot of aid projects in the country as well.”
The ambassador denied the perception that Pakistan was experiencing a cold business relation with Japan. “We just started exports of Pakistani mangoes to Japan and are optimistic that positive results would come in,” he said.
Pakistan’s embassy is trying to bring a delegation of Japanese investors to Pakistan and invite Pakistani manufacturers to visit Japan, which may increase Pakistani exports to Japan, he added.