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S Arabia prepared to invest in Pak energy sector

Saudi Arabia has assured Pakistan that it is prepared to undertake investment in this country to rid of energy crisis, besides it has shown willingness to increase mutual cooperation in five significant areas pertaining to economic activities.

This has been stated by visiting Saudi Minister for Trade and Industry Tawfig Fauzan Al-Rabiah in a chat with The News Wednesday at the Saudi House, residence of Saudi ambassador, where Saudi ambassador Dr Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Saleh Al-Ghadeer hosted a dinner in the honour of his minister and Saudi trade delegation. Federal Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia Naeem khan were also present on the occasion.

Saudi minister is here to lead his countries delegation and heading his country’s group in the Joint Ministerial Commission’s (JMC) meeting that is taking place after the gape of five years. To a question, Saudi minister termed his visit to Pakistan more than satisfying and said the two governments have decided to hold the JMC annually since the long pause in holding such meetings proving not so productive.

He said that the working groups have been established for trade and investment promotion and they would submit their reports in March next when they will meet here in Pakistan again. He pointed out that the two brotherly countries have agreed to cooperate in the fields of Trade‚ Textile‚ Pharmaceutical‚ Banking, Agriculture and other fields. The agreement arrived in the JMC, which had its extensive interaction here earlier in the day. The Saudi trade minister said that the current trade volume between the two countries is eight billion Riyal. The volume is bound to be enhanced, he said. To a specific question the Saudi minister, who was visibly happy about his trip, said that his country is ready to make investment in construction of dams and water reservoirs in Pakistan but for the purpose the two governments will have to reach an agreement pertaining to any such proposal.

Makhdoom Amin Fahim said that the Saudi investors would take full benefit of the investment incentives being offered by Pakistan.

Saudi ambassador in Pakistan Dr Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Saleh Al-Ghadeer, who was profusely praised by the two ministers for his efforts, expressed hope that the two countries would go long way for enhancing their cooperation in various fields since the people of the two countries are keen on strengthening their ties even further.

Meanwhile, diplomatic sources told The News that Pakistan has also discussed with the visiting Saudi minister about its urge to have free trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member countries and the response by the Saudi authorities is forthcoming as the strategic dialogue between the GCC and Pakistan would take place sometime next quarter of this year. The two countries have also discussed making the process of issuance of visa for the business communities of the two countries more soften and in this regard various proposals came under discussion for issuance of multiple visa for the trade propose, the sources added.

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