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UK wants to ‘boost trade ties with Pakistan’


October 5, 2018

BIRMINGHAM: Britain wants to boost its trade relations with Pakistan, Prime Minister Theresa May’s trade envoy MP Rehman Chishti has said.

During the conservative party’s annual conference here in Birmingham, the MP from Gillingham speaking exclusively to Geo News said that the UK has overtaken China to become Pakistan’s second largest export market in the world. Rehman, who is also the vice chair of conservative party, told Geo News about his recent four days trip to Pakistan as PM Theresa May’s trade envoy.

Rehman told Geo News that he held talks with PM Imran Khan’s adviser on Business and Industry Razak Dawood, Sindh CM Syed Murad Ali Shah, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto, Shell MD and Port Qasim Authority Chairman. MP Rehman Chishti said, “People often talk about the UK has historic ties with Pakistan, yes they are historic and very deep, but we are more hopeful about the prosperity in our future relationships. The United Kingdom is the third largest investor in Pakistan after China and the Netherlands and accounts for 8% of foreign direct investment to Pakistan. Also the UK has overtaken China and now is Pakistan’s 2nd largest export market after the US and also the largest market in the Europe. The annual bilateral trade between the United Kingdom and Pakistan has gone up to £2.9 billion just in the last year it has seen a 10% increase in it and annually now Pakistan is exporting £1.8 billion of goods and services to the UK.

“More than 120 British firms are operating and investing in Pakistan, including Reckitt Benckiser, Mott MacDonald, UBL, Standard Chartered & GlaxoSmithKline. So, the stats are very promising, and we want to go from strength to strength at every level,” added Mr Chishti.

Rehman told Geo News that the UK is looking forward to work with the newly elected civilian government in Pakistan to ensure stronger and long lasting trade ties. He said: “We have reiterated that whichever party is in the government in Pakistan, we are ready to work with them to strengthen our relations. We had a commitment that we want to see a democratic Pakistan, so it’s very good to see that a civilian elected democratic government took charge from another civilian elected government. We will enhance the relationship at every level.”

“You can clearly see that while I was in Pakistan as trade envoy, the Home Secretary Sajid Javed, was also visiting Pakistan at the same time and that shows that our relations with Pakistan in future will be multi-dimensional, strategic and will be strengthen with more trade,” added Mr Chishti.

MP Rehman Chishti has been working tirelessly to improve post-Brexit trade relations with Pakistan; he has visited Pakistan three times already since his appointment as trade envoy to boost UK-Pak trade

“Pakistan will benefit hugely once we are out of the EU,” said Rehman. “We have already held talks with the authorities in Pakistan and made a commitment with them on GSP plus trade status will be protected and Pakistan will be given the same preferential status post Brexit. The legislation in the British parliament on preferential trade status which is similar to GSP plus to trade with Pakistan has been approved. So, we have already started to deliver on the promises which we had made with Pakistan,” he added further.

Speaking about the future of the Brexit and on whether the government will be able to make s deal acceptable to all, he said, “Our government promised in the election manifesto that we will deliver Brexit, we will come out of the European Union and the single market. And the prime minister has reiterated many times that we will deal with it accordingly. It’s normal that when negotiations are taking place you have to wait for the full term of negotiations to complete. We will deliver the Brexit in the national interest and are very confident that we will deliver a good deal.”

Answering a question about the rift in the Conservative Party between PM Theresa May and other top leaders, including the ex-foreign secretary Boris Johnson, Rehman told that the Conservative party is united on one issue that is we have to deliver on Brexit, the only difference is that how to implement on it.

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