High Commissioner of Canada Perry Calderwood has said there was a tremendous potential to enhance trade between Pakistan and Canada as both countries have significant trade volume and longstanding economic relationship. “Pakistan and Canada can enhance their trade and investment cooperation in different sectors including agriculture, renewable energy, oil & gas, mining and infrastructure etc., particularly here in Karachi and also in Sindh Province. Canada is strong in all these sectors so I believe potential is there”, Perry Calderwood said, “The Challenge, of course, for me and also for Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Canada is to translate this potential into concrete activity.”
Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Canadian High Commissioner opined that Pakistan and Canada have a very broad relationship as both countries have been cooperating with each other in a range of areas since past many decades.
Honorary Consul of Canada Bayram D. Avari, Trade Commissioner of Canada Athar Moeen Khan, President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Senior Vice President KCCI Asif Nisar, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Younus Soomro, Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz, Chairman Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Sub-Committee Altaf A. Ghaffar, Former VP KCCI Muhammad Idrees and KCCI Managing Committee members were present at the meeting.
Canadian High Commissioner, who arrived in Pakistan just two months ago, said that he was new to this part of the world but was looking forward to learn a lot, try to absorb maximum information about Pakistan and identify ways and means of how to further improve the existing relations between Pakistan and Canada. He stated that this was his first visit to Karachi, which is the financial and commercial center of Pakistan with a huge population of 23 million, contributing a large portion of tax. “A buzz of activities, lots of energies and lots of dynamism encouraged me to visit this city in order to meet the business and industrial community of Karachi Chamber”, he added.
Highlighting some of the key areas in which Canada has been extending Development Assistance to Pakistan, he pointed out that Canada has been extending support to eradicate polio from Pakistan, which was being done globally in those countries where polio was still present. “We are very encouraged that great progress has been made in case of Pakistan and we are fairly optimistic that polio will be eradicated by the end of this year”, he added.
Canadian High Commissioner further informed that they were also active in the area of Women Economic Empowerment which was one of the priorities of the development programs for Pakistan. “Women Economic Empowerment is a priority of Canada’s government, both in domestic policy and also in foreign development policy. The Canadian government strongly believes that for any country looking forward to achieve full potential, it was important that the entire population be allowed to participate and be empowered whether it is the economy, business, politics, governance, academia or any other field. Hence, we put great emphasis to empower women and develop the entrepreneurial skills amongst women.” He said that education was of the third area in which Canada is active. Around 4,000 Pakistani students were currently studying in Canada which was one of the fastest growing groups. “I hear very positive things from Canadian universities who say that Pakistani students are some of the excellent students and they really enrich our universities” Canadian High Commissioner mentioned, adding that 300,000 Pakistanis live in Canada as of today who can be very helpful in building economic and other ties between Canada and Pakistan as they know Canada and Pakistan very well. “I look forward to leveraging and working with the Pakistani community in Canada for strengthening relationships”, he added. Perry Calderwood expressed keenness to make all-out efforts towards encouraging the Canadian businessmen and investors to come to this part of the world.
Earlier, while welcoming the Canadian High Commissioner, President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo stated that Pakistan and Canada share longstanding economic and political relations by working together in various fields. The mutual relations between two countries have gradually shifted from Canada providing development aid to engaging in bilateral trade with Pakistan.
He informed that during 2015-16, total trade volume between Pakistan and Canada stood at $684 million, of which Pakistan’s exported goods worth $231 million whereas its imports stood at around $453 million. “There is a huge potential to enhance trade between Pakistan and Canada. In this regard, Pakistan Railways may seek bids from Canadian Pacific Railway for procurement of locomotives and the textile sector of Pakistan must also look for opportunities in Canadian market of baby clothing as Canada has cut import tariffs on baby clothes made from wool, cotton and synthetic fibers”, he added.
Shamim Firpo underscored that the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants to promote business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and Canada. “We also want to promote Canadian investment in Pakistan and do everything for the development of Pakistan–Canada business cooperation”, he said while emphasizing the need to promote trade, commerce and economic cooperation between the two countries, advocate steps to foster and organize trade and investment delegations, trade fairs, exhibitions, seminars and meetings etc.
He also invited Canadian companies to participate in 14th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony exhibition scheduled to be organized in the month of April next year which will provide an excellent opportunity to Canadian businessmen and industrialists to showcase their products and create strong linkages with the business community of Karachi.