Karachi-Istanbul chamber of commerce proposed

By Kazim Alam, The Express Tribune

KARACHI: “My beloved speaks Turkish, and Turkish I know naught,” wrote poet Amir Khusarau over 700 years ago. One was reminded of this line on Monday, as representatives of Turkish and Pakistani business communities met at the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) to discuss the setting up of a joint chamber of commerce and industry and bilateral trade issues in the absence of an interpreter.

The inability to communicate effectively resulted in an early conclusion of the meeting between Turkey’s Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD) Chairman Eyup Akbal and KCCI office-bearers as soon as KCCI Vice President Zia Ahmed Khan finished reading his welcome statement.

MUSIAD is one of the largest business groups of Turkey whose member-companies earn export revenues of up to $17 billion a year besides contributing 15% to Turkey’s gross domestic product (GDP), or the total size of economy.

Akbal said companies from all over Europe were moving their manufacturing operations to Turkey because it had business-friendly and pro-growth regulatory framework. “They manufacture goods in Turkey and export these back to Europe, taking advantage of favourable tax rates,” Akbal said.

The value of Turkey’s imports from Pakistan in 2011 was $873 million, which was just 0.4% of its total imports over the same period. Pakistan’s imports from Turkey in 2011 were $213 million, which showed a trade surplus in favour of Pakistan.

Turkey’s major exports to Pakistan are machinery, nuclear reactors and boilers, which are all value-added, finished products. In contrast, Pakistan’s exports to Turkey mainly consist of cotton, which the latter uses to produce exportable textile products.

Turkey imported Pakistani cotton worth $386 million in 2011, which was almost 44% of its total imports from Pakistan in that year. The agenda of the meeting was to float the proposal for the establishment of a Karachi-Istanbul Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, according to Khan.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 17, 2012.

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