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Japan eager to tap bilateral trade potential

By our correspondents
December 14, 2017

KARACHI: Bilateral trade volume of two billion dollars between Japan and Pakistan is very low compared with the growth potential, a Japanese envoy said.

Consul General of Japan in Karachi Toshikazu Isomura said various groups, including Pakistan-Japan Business Forum (PJBF), Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Sindh government and others are rendering efforts to strengthen the bilateral trade ties. “I am also taking efforts at the personal level,” Isomura said, addressing an event hosted by PJBF on late Tuesday night.

The consul general said around 10,000 Pakistanis are living in Japan, while many Japanese residents like Pakistani foods “so Pakistani rice and food could get a market share in Japan”. Isomura hoped that more Japanese companies would come and invest in Karachi after improvement in law and order situation.

Sohail Ahmed, chairman and chief executive officer of PJBF said the first Japan business mission arrived in Pakistan in 1948, but trade could not reach at the higher levels.

“Pakistan’s exports to Japan are $204 million, which are insignificant,” Ahmed added. “Pakistan is not a poor country, as it has fertile land, minerals, potential in information technology and huge consumer market.”

PJBF chief said inequality in Pakistan is lower than India. “We have low unemployment ratio than India,” he said. “Besides, Pakistan is the second least expensive country in the world.”

Rie Mihara, Japan’s first female entrepreneur in Pakistan and founder of Makotoya Pakistan Pvt Ltd said the working environment is improving in the country. “Before arriving in Pakistan six years ago we were told that Pakistan was a land of terrorists and honour killings,” Mihara added.

Earlier, Fahim Sulaiman, joint secretary general of PJBF, welcomed the participants and moderated the event. Tetsuya Suematsu, senior vice chairman of PJBF thanked the participants for their enthusiasm in the event and likeliness of the musical and martial art performances.

The PJBF’s signature event featured historical and traditional musical performance by Japanese artists and martial art ‘JuJutsu’ performance. Japanese companies are keen to invest in infrastructure development and energy and water treatment sectors in Pakistan. Kimihide Ando, vice chairman of PJBF said the country’s investment climate is improving. “Like other multinational companies, we are also interested to increase our investment in Karachi,” Ando said in a meeting last week with Governor Sindh Mohammmad Zubair.