UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has announced its plan to open a series of business centres across Pakistan in a bid to encourage trade.
The government has been trying to rebalance the UK economy in favour of manufacturing and exports to kickstart a fresh period of economic growth. Now, the body set up to encourage greater trade with foreign markets has taken another step towards closer trading links between the UK and Pakistan.
UKTI is planning to establish a series of business centres in major cities across Pakistan to help British companies trade in foreign markets and learn about overseas corporate practices. The first is due to be set up in Karachi, but there are plans for further centres in other large cities.
John Tucknott, British deputy high commissioner, told the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), that UKTI is working with all such chambers across Pakistan as well as government bodies and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan to increase bilateral trade between Pakistan and the UK.
Large British companies are already working in the country alongside Pakistani firms, he added, while energy is likely to be one of the most fruitful areas for collaboration and cooperation. Energy shortages are one of the biggest issues facing Pakistan, he explained, but it is also one of the sectors in which UK firms have particular expertise.
That view was backed up by LCCI president Sohail Lashari, who said that the country offers huge opportunities for UK firms – in terms of both finance and technology, Pakistan needs help to develop clean energy solutions to ensure its future stability. But there are other sectors where the two countries could enjoy a particularly fruitful relationship, such as agriculture, mines and mineral development, medical technologies and textiles.
The UK is making the most of emerging and growing markets, where there is plenty of potential for investments to offer strong returns. For Pakistan, an increase in foreign direct investment can only be a good thing, as the country seeks to embrace new technologies that will allow it to maximise its own potential.
Bilateral trade between the two countries has now reached $2 billion (£1.19 billion) in volume, and Mr Lashari made it clear that he expects more to come. As the UK seeks to increase exports and Pakistan looks to develop even further, a stronger trading relationship could bear plenty of fruit for both.
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