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CANBERRA, 18 SEPT. 2014: The fifth meeting of Australia-Pakistan Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was held in Canberra on 18 September 2014. Issues of Pakistan-Australia bilateral trade, trade policy, market access, technical support and enhanced bilateral exchange of trade delegations were discussed.

It was agreed that Austrade and TDAP will collaborate closely for trade promotion activities. Australian government offered aid for trade under the Country Assistance Programme for the strengthening of the institutional capacity of the Ministry of Commerce and trade related private sector organisations of Pakistan. Both sides agreed to continue technical cooperation in the areas of agriculture, engineering and vocational training. They agreed to make use of various tools for market development including business-to-business meetings, awareness seminars and exchange of delegations.

There was a consensus between the two sides regarding challenges confronting the global trade negotiations and the position of Cairns Group on agriculture related issues. It was agreed that all efforts would be made to increase the bilateral trade volume to one billion dollars by next year, as the current trade volume was far below the trade potential of the two countries.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Strengthening Bilateral Trade and Economic Cooperation was signed between Pakistan and Australia on the conclusion of the meeting at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Canberra. Mr. Muhammad Shehzad Arbab, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of Pakistan, and Ms. Jan Adams, Deputy Secretary, DFAT, Commonwealth Government of Australia, signed the document on behalf of the two governments and both the nations. The major components of the MoU are as under:

• It endeavours to facilitate and strengthen trade and investment between the two countries including their organizations and institutions, with a view to achieve a continuous expansion of mutually beneficial trade and investments.

• It aims to reduce barriers to trade and investment between the two countries. Both countries will increase strategic bilateral cooperation including, but not limited to, the areas of agribusiness, education services, energy and resources, Heavy & Light Engineering (including services and equipment).

• Major component of this MoU is Protection of Investments in accordance with customary international law and subject to its laws applicable from time to time and to the particular circumstances of the host State along with transparency of laws and regulations.

• Formulation of implementation committee with the representatives from Australian High Commission at Islamabad, Ministry of Commerce and Board of Investment of Pakistan. Function of the Committee is to promote, monitor and discuss trade and investment related issues.

During the meeting, Pakistan side was led by Mr. Muhammad Shehzad Arbab, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad. Ms. Asima Rabbani, Acting High Commissioner for Pakistan, Canberra, Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Consul General of Pakistan, Sydney, and Mr. Omar Hameed, Joint Secretary (Foreign Trade), Ministry of Commerce, assisted the Secretary.

Australian side was represented by Mr. Paul Grigson, Deputy Secretary, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and Ms. Jan Adms, Deputy Secretary DFAT and senior officials of Department of Agriculture, Austrade and EFIC.

After the meeting, a formal lunch was hosted by Ms. Jan Adams in the honour of Secretary Commerce Pakistan and the Pakistani delegation. Both the delegations exchanged views on WTO issues and shared the common stance of the two countries on Cairns Group.


Sec Muhammad Shehzad Arbab,CG Abdul Aziz and Consul Mr. Shifaat

SYDNEY, 17 SEPT. 2014: Earlier, the Pakistani delegation led by Mr. Muhammad Shehzad Arbab, Secretary Commerce Pakistan, reached Sydney on the eve of 16 Sept 2014. Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili, the Consul General of Pakistan Sydney, along with the staff of the Commercial Section,

Mr. Omar Hameed and Muhammad Shehzad Arbab, Secretary Commerce Pakistan

 received the Secretary and Mr. Omar Hameed, Joint Secretary (Foreign Trade), Ministry of Commerce, and accompanied them to their hotels.

Shahid Iqbal, Mr. Azam,Joint Sec Omar Hameed and Federal Sec Arbab Sahib

Next morning, the Secretary Commerce held a meeting with the leading Australian businessmen of Pakistani origin in Hotel Holiday Inn The Rocks Sydney. The business and investment opportunities for overseas Pakistanis in their homeland Pakistan were discussed at length. The participants expressed their confidence in the present government and Pakistan. The security situation in Pakistan was frankly discussed during the meeting.

                                                                                                 Mr. Muhammad Shehzad Arbab, Secretary Commerce & Consul General

All the participants were of the view that the law and order situation was not as alarming as was being projected in the local and global media and that the situation was significantly improving after the launching of operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan against the extremists / terrorists and the targeted operation against the criminals in Karachi. However, it was agreed that there was a need to improve the perception about Pakistan. All the participants resolved to further improve the image of Pakistan in Australia.

Syed Zafar Hussain Shah and Mr. Iftikhar Rana

Mr. Adeel Momin, CB Consultancy; Mr. Adnan Nasir, Euphoria Trading Pty Ltd; Dr Taufiq Shah, AMRDC Pty Ltd.; Hafiz Shahid Iqbal, Austech Health Services & AHS Import / Export Pty Ltd; Mr. Kashif Amjad, SlimTel; Mr. Iftikhar Rana PABC & Citilink Finance; Mr. Muhammad Aamir, All Linens Pty Ltd; Mr. Muhammad Asif, Citilink Finance; Mr. Naseer Taseer and Mr. Summer Nicks of Fox Studios Sydney; Mr. Tayyab Madani, XEITGEIST Entertainment Group Pty Ltd ,Mr. Zain Sherriff, Lion Group. Mr. Azam Muhammad, Former Consul General, and Syed Zafar Hussain Shah, Sada-e-Watan Online Newspaper, also participated in the meeting.

Head of Delegation Arbab Sahib, Mr. Uqaili, Mr. Sifaat & Kashif Amjad

In the afternoon, the Secretary Commerce held a luncheon meeting with Australian companies / organizations doing business with or having stakes in Pakistan. Mr. Hassan Kanji of Kanji Associates; Mr. Gus Balloot of Numan International Pty Ltd; Mr. Neil Evans, Snowy Mountain Engineering Pty Ltd and Mr. Aleksandar Voninski, UNSW attended the meeting while Hon Mehreen Faruqui, MLC NSW Parliament and Mr. Ali Kawtani, Nimco Foods could not make it. Hon Shaoquett Moselmane, MLC, NSW Parliament and Marnie Wright, Deputy Director DFAT also graced the occasion. Mr. Abdul Aziz Uqaili, Consul General of Pakistan Sydney and Mr. Shifaat Kaleem, Consul, Consulate General of Pakistan Sydney, were among the hosts of the event.

Omar Hameed, Federal Sec Arbab Sahib, CG Abdul Aziz and Consul Shifaat

The Secretary Commerce exchanged views with the Parliamentarian and the business leaders for promoting bilateral trade between the two nations and increasing Australian FDI in Pakistan. The Australian business leaders informed the Secretary about their business interests in Pakistan and also expressed their satisfaction while doing business over there.

Before departure to Canberra, the Secretary Commerce visited Sydney Opera House. The Consul General arranged an official tour of Sydney’s landmark, which was conducted by the Government Relations Department of Sydney Opera House.

The Consul General and the Consul accompanied the Secretary and the Joint Secretary Commerce, during the tour of Opera House.


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