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Thursday April 18, 2024

Malaysia and Pakistan eye closer economic partnership under FTA and ASEAN integration

He also says Malaysia was keen to explore new avenues of cooperation in sectors such as tourism and capacity building

By Our Correspondent
February 03, 2024
Consul General Herman Hardynata Bin Ahmad speaks during an event in Karachi on January 30, 2024. — Facebook/Consulate-General of Malaysia in Karachi
Consul General Herman Hardynata Bin Ahmad speaks during an event in Karachi on January 30, 2024. — Facebook/Consulate-General of Malaysia in Karachi

KARACHI: Malaysia’s consul general in Karachi said on Friday that Pakistan’s share in bilateral trade with his country was improving, as Malaysia increased its imports of rice and frozen food from the South Asian nation.

Consul General Herman Hardynata Bin Ahmad told a meeting of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) that the trade volume between the two countries was largely in favor of Malaysia, but the countries are looking to boost their trade and investment ties, as they seek to diversify their products and markets amid the global economic recovery.

He also said that Malaysia was keen to explore new avenues of cooperation in sectors such as tourism and capacity building.

“Malaysia’s exports to Pakistan mainly represent palm oil, but we are unable to completely fulfill Pakistan’s growing demand for palm oil despite the fact that we have been producing palm oil at our peak capacity. Malaysia is a small country and in terms of palm oil production, we are limited,” Ahmad said at a meeting with the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Friday.

The Malaysian envoy also expressed his keenness to get engaged in a maximum number of meetings being organized by the business community of Karachi which were focused on strengthening trade and investment ties between Malaysia and Pakistan.

“Last year, a Malaysian delegation came to Pakistan in September to explore new avenues of trade cooperation and I will try to bring more such delegations to Karachi this year as well,” he said, while appreciating the existing trade volume, especially the trade taking place from Karachi region.

Ahmad said that both countries have been cooperating with each other not only in trade but also in defense as Malaysia has been sending its defense officials for training in Pakistan and Pakistani officials from the armed forces were also being sent to Malaysia for training.

“In addition to enhanced trade, there are many other opportunities in the tourism sector and capacity building in many other sectors of the economy.”

Appreciating KCCI for regularly holding meetings and maintaining excellent liaison with Malaysian Consulate, he said that these kinds of engagements with the business community of Karachi help not only in highlighting concerns but also in addressing any other thing relating to trade with Malaysia.

Earlier, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, while welcoming the Malaysian enevoy, said that Pakistan and Malaysia have strong and diversified bilateral economic relationships in various areas of mutual interest. “Despite strong brotherly ties, the bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and Malaysia remains below its true potential as Pakistani exports to Malaysia currently stand at around $300 million in FY23 which need to be enhanced to a reasonable level.”

Underscoring the need to eliminate trade barriers, encourage ease of doing business and diversify products for economic cooperation, he said that effective implementation of a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) establishing closer economic partnership between Pakistan and Malaysia can substantially enhance trade volume between the two countries.

“It is imperative for Pakistan to pursue economic integration with the ASEAN bloc having a collective GDP size of $3.6 trillion. This will open new avenues for strengthening ties and establishing institutional connections with individual ASEAN members and the collective group.”