Pakistan is pursuing strong economic diplomacy to explore new markets instead of depending on a few countries for trade, said Pakistan’s High Commissioner-designate to Brunei Darussalam Farhat Abbas Sani.

Talking to the business community at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Monday, he appreciated the government’s vision of diversification to penetrate the unexplored and relatively smaller world markets. “It will ensure our economic sovereignty arising from sustained and durable policies,” he said.

The envoy-designate added that rice was the main staple food in South Asian countries and Pakistan could export it to earn foreign exchange.

He appreciated the increase in exports of IT products and said that Pakistan earned $2 billion from such services last year. He was of the view that the country could export IT products to Brunei as well.

He recalled his meeting with officials of several local banks to persuade them to establish their branches in Brunei for the provision of banking services to importers and exporters. The envoy-designate vowed to encourage foreign investors to pour money into the tourism, education, health, real state and nursing sectors of Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan and Brunei Darussalam were members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and maintained cordial diplomatic relations based on historical affiliation.

However, he lamented that the bilateral trade figures did not reflect these relations.

Quoting data, he pointed out that Pakistan’s exports to Brunei had been stagnant at around $1.1 million for the last two years (2019 and 2020). “On the other hand, Pakistan’s imports from Brunei are virtually negligible.”

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2021.

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