Daily Times, Pakistan
FTA with Brunei likely by year end
4 May 2007
LAHORE: Modalities for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Brunei Darussalam are being finalised and hopefully the agreement would be in place by the end of this year. This was stated by Pakistan’s High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Major General (retd) Syed Haider Jawed, while speaking at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday.
LCCI President Shahid Hassan Sheikh, Senior Vice President Yaqoob Tahir Izhar, former President Mian Misbahur Rehman and former Senior Vice President and Chairman LCCI Standing Committee Fairs and Exhibitions Sohail Lashari also spoke on the occasion and threw light on various issues of mutual interest.
The High Commissioner said in a bid to expedite two-way trade between the two countries, Double Taxation Avoidance document would be signed during the upcoming visit of the Foreign Minister of Brunei Darussalam. The Pakistani diplomat also stressed the need for formation of a working group comprising businessmen from both the sides that would review ways and means to boost bilateral trade between Pakistan and Brunei Darussalam. He said there was no dearth of potential in both the countries but due to non-availability of proper information and lack of interaction between the businessmen of the two sides, the trade volume could not get required boost. The High Commissioner said Pakistani entrepreneurs could initiate joint ventures with the counterparts in Brunei Darussalam in various sectors.
It is high time for the joint business ventures as the business community in Brunei Darussalam is quite impressed with the Pakistan’s growth rate, he added.
He said the exchange of trade delegations between the two countries would definitely help boost the volume of bilateral trade and LCCI should arrange a visit as early as possible. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Shahid Hassan Sheikh lauded the Brunei Darussalam backing to Pakistan’s efforts to become Full Dialogue Partner of ASEAN.
He said, “both the countries are members of OIC and share common perceptions on world issues and have a firm commitment to the preservation of regional peace and security.”
The LCCI President said Brunei has enough capital but needs technical know-how, machinery and raw materials.
Its plans for the future include upgrading its labour force, strengthening the banking and tourist sectors and, in general, further widening the economic base beyond oil and gas, and Pakistan can help Brunei in these areas through cooperation agreement.