SIALKOT

The Ambassador of Nepal in Pakistan Bharat Raj Paudyal has said that there are wide opportunities and potentials for increasing trade and commerce between the two countries.

He underscored the need for exchanging business delegations for enhancing trade and promotion of investment opportunities between Nepal and Pakistan and the Nepalese Embassy will extend full cooperation and support to business community in this regard, he said.

Addressing the members of Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday, the ambassador further stated that it was right time that Sialkot should become the supplier of sports items and leather products to the Nepalese elites. He added that Nepal was almost a sole supplier of black cardamom and one of the major suppliers of high quality tea to Pakistan.

He said that agriculture has special potential for expansion of bilateral trade and Nepal and Pakistan can explore products of comparative advantage favoured by specific climatic zones in both the countries. He said that Pakistan was the highest per capita tea consuming country in the world while Nepal is one of the finest tea producers. He said that Nepal in recent past has emerged as one of the best quality producer of coffee and urged the Pakistani tea and coffee entrepreneurs to avail advantage of geographic proximity in having these products in competitive price. It is heartening to note that business interaction has improved between Nepal and Pakistan in recent years as a result of which a large number of businessmen are participating in trade fairs and exhibitions. Pakistani entrepreneurs in collaboration with their Nepalese counterparts have successfully organised three consecutive single country trade fairs in Kathmandu in 2010,2011 and 2012 while Pakistani businessmen have also participated in several other national and regional trade fairs and exhibitions held in various parts of Nepal he said.

The Ambassador urged the business community of Pakistan to extend support and cooperation in hosting similar trade fairs of Nepalese products in Pakistan, adding that such trade fairs and exhibitions would help in identifying potentials trade items and provide opportunity to build closer business links between the two countries.

In his address of welcome President Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) Sheikh Abdul Majid said that it is encouraging that several bilateral trade agreements have been signed between the two countries in the fields of trade, culture, agriculture, establishment of joint Economic Commission and Joint Business Council. we are also cooperating in the field of human resource development and number of Nepalese students were studying in various professional colleges of Pakistan he said.

He also stressed the need for establishing close relations between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Kathmandu-Nepal and SCCI. He said that Pakistan and Nepal were enjoying cordial, cooperative and mutually beneficial relations.  Pakistan and Nepal were signatories to the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and members of the South Asian Economic Union.

During this meeting, the Sialkot businessmen pointed out that there was no doubt to say that Sialkot made sports goods, surgical instruments, leather products, gloves of all sorts, textiles items, sports wear, martial arts uniforms & accessories, musical instruments, kitchen ware, hollow ware, knives, cutlery items and military uniform badges etc. could find a good market in Nepal. The main hurdle is lack of communication and proper marketing.

They said that Sialkot exporters have a great potential to explore and capture the international trade markets of Nepal by exporting their world class traditional and non-traditional export products. For improving bilateral trade, Sialkot exporters suggested that exchange of trade delegations and one-to-one meetings of businessmen of both sides may be arranged. This would require both sides to ensure a simple visa process to enable the businessmen to meet each other as and when needed. Sialkot is a unique city enriched with its historical background and strong industrial base. It is one of the most important economic centres, recognised as the only export oriented city of the country.  With the gradual growth of exports, the industrialists decided to setup a platform for facilitation in business activities and other relating matters, they added.

They revealed that the Sialkot-made footballs, field hockey sticks, cricket gear, and boxing gloves are used in international games including the Olympics and World Cups. It is the distinction of Sialkot that the hands stitched soccer balls made here have been used in World Soccer Cups, European Championships, and other International Events. The best cricket and hockey players of the world prefer to use “Made in Pakistan” cricket bats and hockey sticks which have made Sialkot a “Household Name” all over the world, they added. Sialkot exporters told the visiting Nepalese Ambassador that most of the developed countries are importing surgical instruments from Sialkot.