Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President FPCCI, has expressed his concerns that the bilateral trade with a large economy like Australia – having a GDP of approximately $1.4 trillion – remains far below its potential as total trade with Australia is under one billion dollars; and, on top of that, trade deficit with Australia is approximately $400 million. For any head of FPCCI, it must be a cause of deep consternations and IT & textiles are the two industries which have the potential to exponentially enhance Pakistani exports to Australia, he added.
Mian Anjum Nisar, former President FPCCI, emphasized that managing national food security and efficient agricultural yield per acre are the areas where Pakistan needs to learn and adapt from Australian experiences: their agricultural technologies; protecting crops from natural hazards; their water management practices; crop-mapping; fields-to-market roads & networks; export marketing of agricultural products and state-of-the-art food processing facilities.
H. E. Mr. Neil Hawkins, Australian High Commissioner in Pakistan, expressed his willingness to facilitate the promotion of people-to-people, business-to-business and chamber-to-chamber engagements and linkages between the two countries. He specifically expressed his desire to help the country with its flood relief & rehabilitation needs – which is on a never-seen-before scale and requires enormous efforts on a global scale.
Mr. Hawkins apprised that 40,000 Pakistani students are studying in Australia and Pakistani diaspora in Australia is increasing in numbers as more and more Pakistanis are opting for immigration to his country. He also highlighted that Australia is accepting as many as 195,000 skilled immigrants every year from world over.
Engr. M. A. Jabbar, VP FPCCI, said that Australia should offer swift & easy visa processing to Pakistani businessmen and cooperate in transfer of industrial technology to the country. He pointed out that Australia is world’s top most country which is equipped and experienced with management of natural disasters – and, they should come forward to help Pakistan with the rehabilitation after almost one-third of the country has been devastated by the floods.
Mr. Shabbir Mansha, VP FPCCI, said that Australia should consider employing Pakistan’s skilled, passionate and young workforce in the IT sector as they are not only competent in international market; but also cost-competitive in their remuneration than almost any other country.
Mr. Sultan Rehman, Coordinator Head Office FPCCI, demanded that Australia should increase the number of scholarships & fields of study for the Pakistani students as it transforms their lives like nothing else. Mr. Khurram Tariq Sayeed, former VP FPCCI, said that people-to-people contacts ultimately translate into business, trade and economic linkages.