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The Pakistan Investment Promotion Roundtable Meeting (Tokyo)

The Pakistan Investment Promotion Roundtable Meeting (Tokyo)

UNIDO ITPO Tokyo and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) organized “The Pakistan Investment Promotion Roundtable Meeting” on 21 February in Tokyo.

Pakistan is a South Asian country with a population of approx. 200 million and size of land twice as much as that of Japan. The two countries have been in friendly relations, having celebrated the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2012. On the occasion of the visit of Mr. Sajjad Hussain, Pakistan Board of Investment (BOI) to Japan to further promote investment in Pakistan, UNIDO’s Tokyo Office, together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), organized a roundtable meeting at UNU HQs in Tokyo.

“Pakistan has had long-friendly ties with Japan” said Mr. Ferda Gelegen, Deputy Head, UNIDO ITPO Tokyo, in opening the roundtable meeting, adding his wish that the meeting will be a platform to discuss both opportunities for investment and challenges that may exist, and further strengthen the relationship between the two countries. 

In his remarks, Mr. Muhammad AbuBakar Siddique, Commercial Counsellor, Embassy of Pakistan stressed the attraction and the future perspective of his country by mentioning “the natural resources and the young population, which are perfect elements we offer in partnering with Japan”. Mr. Siddique added that Japanese companies who have been successful in Pakistan have not left the country and that he welcomes further investment by Japanese companies to Pakistan.

Subsequently, a briefing entitled “Investment Climate and Business Opportunities in Pakistan”, was made by Mr. Sajjad Hussain, Pakistan Board of Investment (BOI). As Pakistan is one of the countries with the highest capital collection rate, and also has signed a treaty against double taxation with Japan, Mr. Hussain explained in detail the advantages of Japanese investment into Pakistan. He also mentioned the automobile industry in particular and existing demand for compact cars, hybrid electric vehicles, motorcycles of more than 1500 cc, high-tech parts manufacturers and large trucks.

Next, on behalf of Japanese companies already located in Pakistan, a briefing was presented by a Japanese trading company.

“In Pakistan, development of businesses is possible in various industries” said the company representative, who also introduced his company’s businesses in the country, which ranges from trading of chemicals, steel, tires, and shrimp to (chemical) plants. He also touched upon the influence of “One Belt One Road” as a policy which has influenced the local domestic market to boom, and that local businesses are striving to capture the vigorous opportunities brought on by increased demand. His views were based on experiences of doing business in and with Pakistan.

Mr. Ikuru Nogami of JETRO Karachi Office then briefed the audience on the uniqueness of the three regions in Pakistan: Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Mr. Nogami also introduced Pakistan as a country most motivated in business expansion in Asia with few foreign capital restrictions. Also, considering the fact that much negotiation with the government is involved in doing business in the country, he added the importance of partnering locally and also touched upon the possible change of the taxation system from the next fiscal year onwards (fiscal year: July-June). Further on, Mr. Nogami’s briefing focused much on the specific elements to be noticed when launching businesses in Pakistan. 

The last person to give a briefing was Ms. Yuko Tanaka, JICA Investment Climate Improvement Advisor at BOI, whose mission is to bridge between BOI and Japanese companies. In addition to introducing the organization’s role, Ms. Tanaka highlighted areas of priority by BOI: agriculture, livestock and fishery, automobiles, chemical products, construction, food & beverage, IT, mining, textile, apparel, leather industry and energy. Ms. Tanaka also introduced the “100 Days to Excellence” programme, which started in December 2017. The initiative aims at improving the business environment, focusing on 7 fields.

During the Q&A session, participants seated in a “roundtable” format actively participated in the discussion. To questions on the improvement of stable distribution of power supply, the response was that not only supply reached 99%, but that there is also surplus electric power. This would not affect daily life in Pakistan, said the representatives. Also, based on the fact that Japanese companies are sending their staff to be posted locally in Pakistan, several questions regarding the security situation in the country, which varies from region to region, were asked.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Naoyuki Nemoto, Director, South Asia Department, JICA, mentioned that “JICA is committed to further efforts for improving the investment environment for Japanese companies and reduce the psychological and physical distance between Japanese and Pakistani businesses”.  As high population is one of the advantages in Pakistan, Mr. Nemoto added that JICA is committed to further strengthening the relationships with international organizations and focusing on infrastructure development, along with the development of human resources, to help contribute to the business community in the country.

Event Overview:
Date/Time:      February 21, 2018 (Wednesday) / 13:30-15:30
Venue:             5F Committee Room 2&3, UNU Building
Title:                Pakistan Investment Promotion Roundtable Meeting
Organizer:       Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNIDO ITPO Tokyo
Co-organizer:  Japan-Pakistan Business Cooperation Committee (JPBCC), Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO)
Supporter:       Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Pakistan Board of Investment (BOI)
Language:       English-Japanese interpretation