Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan, Kuninori Matsuda, has said that Japan is willing to import mangoes, rice, fish and textile products from Pakistan and requested that arrangements be made at ports that could facilitate agri-product exports.
A Pakistani newspaper on Wednesday reported that the envoy voiced hope that with regional peace and stability, regional trade would flourish, offering better opportunities to Pakistan.
He stated this in a meeting with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, which was held to discuss the strengthening of bilateral trade ties.
Japan a time-tested friend of Pakistan
During the meeting, Shaikh said Japan was a time-tested friend of Pakistan and had always supported the country. He expressed confidence that Pakistan’s relationship with Japan would continue to become stronger with each passing day.
The adviser spoke about the state of economy during the past year and the steps taken by the government to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Shaikh stated that before Covid-19, Pakistan’s economy had started moving in the right direction. “We had been successful in increasing our tax revenues, controlling current account deficit, generated primary surplus, controlled expenditures, put a ban on borrowing from the central bank and were successful in creating an environment conducive for exports,” he added.
He said he was very hopeful that Pakistan would regain stability as the number of active Covid-19 cases was declining.
The envoy expressed hope that with regional peace and stable political situation, the regional trade would flourish, offering better opportunities to Pakistan.
He told the adviser that Japan would extend support to Pakistan for debt relief and after preliminary work on the initiative, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be formally signed with Pakistan. He assured the government of Pakistan of complete assistance from Tokyo.
Long history of economic co-operation between the two countries
Pakistan and Japan started with similar hardships. The Japanese economy was torn out by the World War.
Pakistan got independence and faced a very poor economy, particularly, having
a negligible industrial base. Pakistan did have raw material and good agricultural
resources. Pakistan neglected human resource development and kept on changing
economic policies without achieving their goals.
As a result, Pakistan remained underdeveloped. However, Japan converted the novel nation to a very successful industrial labour and entrepreneurs. The cooperation between bureaucracy, banks and businessmen (The INK) converted the economy of
Japan, which is now an integral part of world trade.
— 安倍晋三 (@AbeShinzo) September 1, 2020
Pakistan’s trade account was always in deficit with Japan. However, Japan continued to provide aid to meet this deficit. It helped to strengthen Pakistan-Japan trade and economic relations. Over time, Pakistan’s trade with ASEAN increased while it did not flourish much, at a rapid rate, with Japan.
Japanese investment in Pakistan remained limited and, therefore, its economic relations were stalling with Pakistan. China and ASEAN are gaining trade shares in Pakistan. Japan needs to change its investment and trade policies to strengthen its economic relations with Pakistan. With the advent of bettering relations between China and Japan, Pakistan is also now regaining an age-old ally.
Japan may increase investment beyond just financing the trade deficit. Its investors are still eager to invest in Pakistan, and, it has lion’s share in the autos market in Pakistan. There are ample opportunities for Japan to invest in Pakistan. Japan can invest in the areas of agriculture, electronics, textile and industries pertaining to food processing and energy etc.
Japanese surplus capital and management may explore cheap labour, raw material and energy in Pakistan. It can manufacture cheaply in Pakistan and export to other countries. It will be difficult for Japan to increase trade with Pakistan, once other countries gained market share.
GVS News Desk