Posted by: Administrator | 25 September, 2006

President address to Business Community in Mexico

2005

We force the political relationships that we are already involved in. We enjoyed very good ideological and diplomatic relations with Mexico. We coordinate all our efforts diplomatically and internationally. We have been the members of national Security Council. At the same time and at a very visible time when all that happened in Iraq, I know how many times foreign minister of Mexico has coordinated with our foreign minister to coordinate efforts in political and diplomatic fields I think this strengthening in the political and diplomatic field will go on.

But I will say that this century is the century of geo-economics and therefore one sees commercial and economic trade to cement political objective and that is the second objective for which I have come to enhance economic relations. They said that our economic trade was very small, I would say our trade is pathetic, it is so low one would not like to even quote figures. I don’t want to quote figures it is that low. So therefore we can not be worse than what we are. We can only go up and rise and that is what our purpose here is. I think the start point of the relations to flourish is the government facilitating the private sector because it is the private sector and you every one sitting in this hall who we should interact to promote commerce. Government should facilitate and government facilitation comes through a number of ways. One is to have political harmony and that as I said Mexico and Pakistan has so the first step is there. The other facilitation is government rules and regulations, other forums to encourage business. You will be glad to know that I took up the case with your President Fox that we need to have a free trade in the region with Mexico and I am really proud to say that he took it in a very open way and I know they will consider this aspect very realistically. I also said that we need to have a Mexican flag fluttering in Islamabad because that will facilitate the visa business in Islamabad otherwise how can we travel to each other and then I will invite him to Pakistan and your minister suggested that he should come when the President comes to Pakistan and that should be the opening ceremony of the embassy of Mexico in Pakistan and I will also be there and it will be a proud moment we hope to see that moment come. So the future looks bright on the government side. On the facilitation side if there is a free trade agreement, if there is embassy in Pakistan we have launched ourselves, then there is a committee for joint commission for investment which we have decided to form. Now that is facilitation on the government side. Other than that as far as Pakistan is concerned we believe to facilitate trade and commerce, we need to have peace and harmony, and peace and harmony today are so much integrated in our world, in our region, in our countries that will facilitate trade and commercial activities.

Without going into details I would like to say that Pakistan is trying to play its role in bringing peace and harmony to the world through addressing this issue of terrorism in its deepest context, in its strategic long term context, as well as the immediate context of fighting it militarily, we are contributing in both. We are contributing towards peace in the region through resolving our disputes with our neighbours including India and we are trying to harmonize, normalize the relations. On our west is Afghanistan and on our east is Kashmir, so obviously it has had its fall outs on our society. We are trying to harmonise by bringing peace regionally and domestically. We need to have peace and harmony and go forward for our prosperity, for our progress through our economy, commerce and trade that we are doing in Pakistan. That is what the government is doing for facilitating the business committee. The other is to bring the business communities together and I am very proud to say that I sit here with the delegation of businessmen from Pakistan. This is the facilitation that I am trying to do with them to bring them here and make them meet your business community and find for themselves the area of focus which should be of common interest to both.

Having said all this ladies and gentlemen I would like to give you a feel of Pakistan because I don’t think we know each other. When I was in Argentina I said we know that you have Maradona as a great football player and in Merisel Tele is a great football player but do you know that both have played with Pakistani footballers so this is the interaction one would like to encourage. Now let me tell you ladies and gentlemen that Pakistan is the country of one hundred and fifty million people and growing rapidly so this is a big market we have talented human resource, we have very cheap labour available. Our labour is far cheaper than Chinese labour.

Today it may come to you as a surprise ladies and gentlemen that their labor is three times the labour cost in Pakistan. So our labour is cheap and our people are qualified. The other thing that I would like you to know that Pakistan has a tremendous geographical advantage which the world doesn’t realize and know. Pakistan is at the centre of three regions, the central Asian Republics. We didn’t know the Central Asian Republics when Soviet Union was there now we know that there is Kazakistan, there is Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. They are newly independent countries, how do they go to the sea? They are land-locked and had fate with Russia. Now they want to access everyone, and this can be through Pakistan only as we give them access to the sea. China is developing its western borders, western region of Sinkiang is a very big way if they take all those goods or trade there overland east over China, it is four times the distance, if they were to come to Pakistan, to go to the sea and go to the world. If India wants to trade with Central Asian Republics, it will only do it through Pakistan. If Middle East wants to give gas to India, it will only do that through Pakistan. So ladies and gentlemen Pakistan is in the centre of Central Asian Republics, Middle East and South Asia. The interaction of all these is through Pakistan and also if you add China to it we are talking of half of the population of the world and Pakistan is the geographic center. We are trying to facilitate, we are trying to take advantage of the situation through communication infrastructure. Our ports, roads and rails connecting to Central Asian Republics, China and also with also harmonization with India as we have importantly reached SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade agreement like your NAFTA), therefore its all clear. So this is what I would like to say that we see Pakistan as a hub of the region where half of the world lives. Then anybody coming to Pakistan investing joint ventures or trade is interested in how our economy is doing? Obviously economy needs to be stable.

Ladies and gentlemen I very proudly say that our economy is very stable vibrant and growing. Last year we grew by 6.4% this year we hope to cross 7% and my knowledge is 8% within a few years. Our exchange rate is very stable over the last three years vis-à-vis the dollars. We have a very stable exchange rate so all macro economy indicator are positive. Our debts have reduced for the first time in history and we have reduced our debts service liability. Therefore money is available for developments. Our banks are flowing with money. There is so much liquidity while previously people used to run to banks for money and now banks are running after people to give money at low interest rates. We have cut the interests rates to single figures. Today a good business executive, business house can get loan at 2% from the banks. This money is available for foreign investors.

Therefore ladies and gentlemen this is for the environment of Pakistan we have revived our economy and we have created an investor friendly environmenmt,we have modified our rules and regulations in a manner that a investor or joint investor, joint venture is facilitated and it is profitable to any investor. Issues are very high in Pakistan. I have examined about 700 firms in Pakistan; they have all made excellent profit some of them going beyond 50% so it is win win for all. So with this investor and business friendly environment now is the time for joint ventures for investment and for trade with Pakistan and I look forward to that.

Ladies and gentlemen, we know our areas of interest, Pakistan is an agrarian society therefore agriculture is our mainstay. In agriculture we have sugarcane, rice, cotton and wheat. I just want to touch on rice we have the best rice in the world. Other than this we are into textiles we are major exporters about 60% two third is textile and textile products of textiles. So that is another area of mutuality. Then there are leather goods which are another area of mutual interest. We export surgical instruments to United States and Soviet Union. Then we are going very well in telecommunication and information technology. We set the infrastructure idea so these are the areas. I would like to highlight what does Mexico import and what out of the items Pakistan exports and how much Pakistan exports to Mexico. The figures are very shocking like textiles and clothing you import about $2.9billion, we export $4.2billion but to you we only export 8.2 million dollars. You import surgical instruments $383million, we export &126million but we export to you only $2millions. Leather products you import $354million, we export $115billion but we export to you only $162thousand. Then pharmaceuticals, you import $1.015 billion, we export $40 million. Sports goods, you import $33million, we export $86million but to you only $3million. There are other things like chemicals, jewelry and articles, footwares, engineering goods all you import, we export but nothing to you nil to Mexico.

 What I am trying to say ladies and gentlemen that there is lot of scope. At the same time obviously you would trade with us we would like to see what you export and what we could import from you. That is the trade aspect. Then the other element is the joint venture. There is tremendous profitability and there is tremendous opportunity in Pakistan. So joint ventures are there and investment in the areas. I have said I didn’t mentioned oil and gas exploration; we have tremendous potential in that. Our strike rate is very high, the number of wells drilled and the number of success is very high so this the area where Mexico may be interested so these were the elements that I needed to tell you just to give you a feel about the future of telecommunication.

When I was in Finland some months back I went to Nokia and they think in their projection that in 2007 Pakistan will be the second highest Nokia market in the world. Although the Telenor who is investing in Pakistan in Mobile telephones they were worried about our qualified manpower as they said that the literacy rate was very low in Pakistan and they sounded suspicious about our qualified manpower and my answer was that yes I regret that our literacy level is pathetic its just about 48% but out of this literate lot those who are educated are brilliant and I said Excellency even if 3% out of that 48%is brilliant they are more than your population we have manpower available.

Pakistan is the victim of misperception, it is a victim of wrong perception the reality in Pakistan is very different and misperception has occurred because of what is happening around us. In the last two and a half decade’s warfare, where we were in the frontline, in the cold war period where everyone from the whole world was made to converge in Afghanistan and we were the frontline state. For two and a half decade this is going on and then Soviet Union disintegrated, then Taliban came in then the 9/11 factor came in all this has unfortunately affected Pakistan. Then in our west in India, freedom struggle started in Kashmir back in 1990 we have emotional attachment with them, we have ethnic and religious bonds with them. So these perceptions as if we were terrorist country, we are extremist nation, we are not extremist nation we are a religious nation, religious Muslim and we are Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and there is no doubt the nation was created in the name of Islam.

We are an ideological state it was created for the Muslims of the subcontinent because we thought we can not co-exist with other because we were being subjugated therefore we got this home land of ours in the name of Islam. We are Muslims built we are not extremist. There is a small fringe that is extremist they are bringing bad name to Pakistan and our enemies exploit that. I don’t want to name our enemies we have a lot of enemies they project us as extremist militant terrorist state. I can assure you that it is not the reality. If you don’t believe me you should come to Pakistan and see for yourself and judge it.

So therefore I will close by saying ladies and gentlemen, it has indeed been a pleasure a privilege, an honor to have come to your great country, to have interacted with your President, to exchange views of mutual interest and also to have spoken to such a gathering of businessmen. You can change the lives of people through enhancing business activities. I know that the root of poverty elimination in Pakistan is economic activity commercial activity, investment, jobs that is the root to poverty alleviation so if you get trade factories open in my country, if you come for joint ventures factories, open jobs, you will contributor to poverty alleviation in your own country and in my country. So I look forward to your concerns and your involvement with us in promoting trade commerce and economic activities.

Thank you very much ladies and gentlemen.

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