“Pakistan Business Day” Held in Berlin

"Pakistan Business Day: Post Election Politico-Economic Scene" was held at the German Foreign Office under the aegis of “Asia-Pacific Weeks Berlin-2013.” The event was organized by the Pakistan Embassy in collaboration with Pakistan-German Business Forum and the Social Sciences Research Centre Berlin, on June 07, 2013.

Ambassador Abdul Basit while addressing the participants said that Pakistan straddling South Asia, Central Asia and West Asia had the unique geo-economic advantage. The country also was more competitive and offered far better and easier investment regulatory frameworks than other countries in the region. Companies in the West therefore should look at Pakistan as a country serving three sub regions with the population of over close to three billion.

Referring to Pak-German economic and trade relations, Mr. Basit said that the Roadmap for Strategic Dialogue between the two countries provided a perfect political framework to move forward in many sectors including economic, trade, and investment and surely these relations would expand and strengthen in the coming days. While replying to a question during the Q&A session, Mr. Basit said that civil society, media and the youth had been playing a very positive role to shaping up a moderate, progressive and tolerant society and Pakistan in the near future would be different from the one that the world had seen in the last decade.

Dr. Stephan Oswald, Director General, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in his address said that Germany would continue its support to Pakistan in its endeavor to improve the lives of people of Pakistan. German Foreign Minister Dr. Guido Westerwelle's visit to Pakistan soon after the take over by the newly elected government was a strong signal that Germany attached high importance to its relations with Pakistan, Mr. Oswald added.

Mr. Jan Herff of BASF Group Germany made a presentation on the group's investments and its experiences in Pakistan. He said that BASF entered into the chemical sector of Pakistan in 1969 and witnessed a steady growth touching its revenue to 120 million Euro in 2012. Pakistan is a growing economy and entrepreneurships with a favourable demography and culture and provides a lot of opportunities for investment, he added.

Mr. Adnan Rizvi of KPMG-Taseer Hadi & Co. Pakistan, made a presentation on Investment Opportunities and Challenges in Pakistan. Mr. Hans Jürgen Paschke, Consul and Deputy Head of Mission, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Karachi, in his address, highlighted Pak-German cooperation in the field of development of skilled labour and vocational training in Pakistan. Mr. Horst Rössler, consultant to Pakistan German Business Forum, briefed the participants about various activities being undertaken by the forum to promote trade and business between the two countries.

Earlier, Dr. Talat Mahmood, President Pakistan Forum, Asia Pacific Forum Berlin, welcomed the participants and gave a brief review of the challenges the country was facing in economic and energy sectors and the investment opportunities available in these sectors.

Conference on the “Role of Pakistani Diaspora in the Economic Development of Pakistan” held in Frankfurt

The Embassy organized a one-day conference on the “Role of Pakistani Diaspora in the Economic Development of Pakistan” in Frankfurt on June 30, 2013. Around 60 prominent Pakistani business community members living in Frankfurt and its surrounding areas and towns attended the event. Ambassador Abdul Basit in his opening remarks said overseas Pakistanis were our asset and the newly elected government was looking forward to working closely with them to lift Pakistan out of its current economic difficulties through more investments, exports and formal transaction of remittances.

While mentioning the state of affairs in Pakistan, the Ambassador briefed the conference about the steps being taken by the government to put the country’s economy back on track. He underlined that democracy was now paying its dividends. The country was bound to get out of its present economic difficulties, as the new government was resolved to provide good governance, extirpate corruption and formulate new economic policies. He added that there would be many more incentives for overseas Pakistanis and that the investment environment would improve in the country sooner rather than later.

During the Conference, presentations were made by Commercial Counsellors Mr. Hassan Yousufzai and Dr. Erfa Iqbal on investment opportunities in Pakistan. The participants were briefed in detail of the rules and regulations as well as incentives in specific sectors of the economy. Four sectors, namely: power, IT, infrastructure and agriculture and agro-based industry were identified as highly lucrative for investments in Pakistan.

Presentations were also made by prominent Pakistani businessmen Mir Sikandar Kohler and Sajjad Naqvi narrating their positive investment experiences in Pakistan.

Consul General Dr. Imtiaz A. Kazi also attended the conference.

The participants gave several suggestions to better investment flow towards Pak economy by the expatriates and it was agreed to set up a permanent platform to ensure regular interaction with the Pakistani business community in Germany and implementation of specific proposals.

242 Pak Companies Participated in Heimtextil Trade Fair in Germany

A total of 242 exhibitors from Pakistan participated in the world’s largest trade fair of textile products, Heimtextil-2013, which included bed wears, towels, curtains, table wears, cushions, dresses and other related accessories. A total of 2601 exhibitors from 80 different countries participated in this fair and Pakistan was ranked 4th in terms of number of exhibitors from a single country.

Pakistan Ambassador to Germany, Mr. Abdul Basit, visited the Pakistan Pavilion and met with the Pakistani exhibitors. He was apprised of issues being faced by them. They informed that the energy crisis in the country had been affecting the production adversely and immediate measures were needed for sustainable development of the industry. The Ambassador assured them that their concerns and problems would be conveyed to the authorities concerned for appropriate action. Mr. Abdul Basit urged them to spend a fair portion of their income on research and development (R&D) as only innovative and trendy products could keep them in the market in this rapidly changing world. 

Pakistani exhibitors were optimistic of substantial increase in exports of their products this year as they had made good business contacts during Heimtextil Trade Fair. A large number of buyers and professionals visited the Pakistani Pavilion and appreciated the quality of products displayed by the Pakistani exhibitors.

Mr. Basit also met with the CEO of Frankfurt Messe, Mr. Detlef Braun, who is in charge of Heimtextil Fair, and exchanged views on the arrangements and facilities being provided by the management to the exhibitors. He appreciated the role of Germany for the promotion of international trade. Mr. Braun thanked the Ambassador and assured that the management would continue to improve its facilities in the exhibition halls for both the exhibitors and the visitors.

120 Exhibitors from Pakistan Participated in ISPO-2013 Sports Trade Fair

About 120 sports goods manufacturers and exporters, mainly from Sialkot, participated in the world's largest trade fair of sports goods, ISPO-2013, in Munich, Germany. Pakistan Trade Development Authority (TDAP) sponsored and extended support to new exhibitors from Sialkot under its policy to encourage new entrants in the field of export of Pakistani goods.

Ambassador Abdul Basit visited the Pakistan Pavilion and met Pakistani exhibitors. While exchanging views with them about the business opportunities that such trade fairs provide, the Ambassador said that the quality and the wide range of products displayed by Pakistani exhibitors reflected how the business community was making its efforts to keep the economy of Pakistan going despite many difficulties that cropped up in the wake of Afghanistan crises.

Earlier, the Ambassador held a meeting with the exhibition group director of Messe International (the company that organizes ISPO every year), Mr. Markus Hefter, and discussed with him organizational arrangements of the world's largest trade fair. Mr. Hefter informed that Pakistan was one of the most important countries that have been participating in ISPO since 1970, the year ISPO was set up. The Ambassador said Pakistan was one of the leading countries that had been producing and exporting quality sports goods to all the international brands in the field. Pakistan Pavilion should be given special treatment by the ISPO management in terms of space allocation and country promotion, he added. Mr. Hefter informed that this year a photo exhibition showcasing Pakistan's landscape, its culture and people has also been organized to promote the country. The Ambassador also underscored the need of conducting capacity building and training programmes for the new entrants. In response, Mr. Hefter informed that Messe Munich had launched free online seminars to educate the new exhibitors as how to develop a company profile, organization and submission of documents and on other business related issues. Pakistan's Honorary Consul in Munich, Dr. Pantelis Christian Poetis, also accompanied the Ambassador during the meeting and visit to Pakistan Pavilion in the exhibition. 

“Mango Festival” by Pakistan Embassy Berlin at International Open Day 25 August, 2013

The Embassy of Pakistan in Berlin took part in the Embassies Rally organized by the German Federal Ministry  for Economic Cooperation and Development, by setting up a stall to showcase and represent the country. The commercial wing in collaboration with Pakistan Horticulture Development Company displayed Pakistani mangoes.  The stall was highly visited and the mango exhibit with sample tasting and mango-gifts was most prominent and highly praised.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) organized this Botschaftsralleye (Embassy Rally) on the event of its highly regarded Open Day, on 25 August 2013, from 10 am to 6 pm. The Event was attended by members of the German government and German public. 52 different embassies and diplomatic missions stationed in Berlin took part in the event by organizing stalls where they showcased the products and culture of their countries. Different stalls had food items representative of their nation as well as pamphlets, guide books and souvenir products from their countries. Officers and Staff of these diplomatic missions were also present to answer questions of the visitors about their respective countries.

The stall of the Embassy of Pakistan was set up early in the day with posters showcasing various sights of Pakistan. The stall also had several hundred pamphlets and tour guides for the promotion of Pakistani tourism and other facets of our country. An exhibit table showcased Pakistani handicrafts in wood, metal and stone as well as Pakistani embroidery and handiwork. Various Officers of the Embassy were  present at the event to answer the questions of visiting Germans and spark their interest in Pakistan. The families of these officers also ensured that the stall provided ample homeliness and was a comforting and soft image of Pakistan for the hundreds of visitors.

The Commercial Wing was at the forefront of all activity. This year it took the vanguard in assuring that the event was a huge success and covered not only traditional Pakistani culture but more importantly, proved as a platform to boost awareness of Pakistani produce and to benefit the country from an economic perspective. Mission’s proficient team welcomed the visitors and answered various trade, economy and business related queries. However, the highlight of the stall, and in fact the most widely appreciated attraction in the enclave, was the Pakistani mangoes.

In a prodigious show of public diplomacy and business promotion, the Commercial Wing collaborated with Pakistan Horticulture Development Company to bring over 600 kilograms of fresh and ripe mangoes to Berlin. A portion was sent on behalf of the Ambassador of Pakistan, Mr. Abdul Basit, to dignitaries like members of the German government and society, including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. While rest were packaged very attractively using yellow crepe paper with green and white ribbons and bows and presented to selected visitors to the stall who showed extensive interest in Pakistan. The distribution of mango-souvenirs resulted in huge interest and appreciation amongst participants of the event, and was hailed as a unique, effective and unrivalled tool of public diplomacy and product display. 

For spot tasting, the visitors were also served with mango slices and  ‘mango lassi’ which the Commercial section is trying to introduce to the fruit-centric German market. These were extremely popular and many people showed extreme interest in the rich and unique taste of these mangoes. 

The most esteemed dignitary to grace the stall was Mr. Dirk Niebel, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation who met the Pakistan Ambassador Mr. Abdul Basit at the Pakistan enclosure and discussed Pak-German linkages including those in trade. He tasted and greatly appreciated Pakistani mangoes and was presented by the Ambassador with a souvenir box as a token of Pak-German cooperation. The stall was also visited by Ms. Gudrun Kopp, the German Parliamentary Secretary for Economic Cooperation. She discussed with the Ambassador and the Commercial Counselor the need for Pakistan to introduce its food products especially fruits to the German market as many fruits that Pakistan has are currently being imported from elsewhere like Latin America, even though the quality of the Pakistani fruit is superior. For this, it was discussed, Pakistani fruit exporters need to make inroads into the German market and introduce Pakistan’s produce to the largely unaware local population. It was also appreciated that free sampling of the Pakistani mangoes was provided by the Embassy in collaboration with PHDEC, because this is one of the many ways Pakistani produce can be popularized in the local market in a competitive and compulsive way.

The eventful day came to an end around 6 pm. The Pakistan stall was one of the last to pack up and visitors continued to pour in till the very last minute. Almost all the pamphlets about Pakistan, its tourism, culture, other economic aspects and especially its products and produce were distributed. A large number of networking was possible and the attempt to make a niche for Pakistani mangoes in the local market can be said to be as successful as possible. 

Events like this provide a very good platform and forum for public diplomacy. It is a time that should be well availed to portray to people a softer and truer image of Pakistan in contrast to the widely held misconceptions. The fairer side of Pakistan, its rich culture and hospitable people can be expressed globally through such events. To further utilize such platforms as exhibits of what Pakistan has to offer in terms of products and produce is a unique and vanguard step taken this year and if implemented successively can lead to an encouraging of the use of Pakistani produce in the local market and boost people’s interest in Pakistani products, resulting in higher demand for them. The benefit of this will be reaped both in the short and the long run by the Pakistani economy, especially its people working in these relatively primary sectors of the economy. Interaction with the Embassy personnel and getting first hand information about investment and tourism opportunities in Pakistan will also boost trust and confidence about the country.

The huge success of the event was not only highlighted by the Ambassador but also the visiting dignitaries. It is now expected that Pakistan will continue to follow this tradition in future events and the country will reap benefits in terms of good will in the economic hub of Germany.

Upcoming Events

Pakistan Days in Berlin and Munich

October 30 & 31, 2013

A Pakistan business delegation is visiting Germany (Berlin and Munich) on October 30 and 31, 2013. The visit is organized by the Pakistan-German Business Forum in collaboration with the Federal Ministry for Economics and technology, Federation of Chambers (DIHK), Berlin, and Chamber of Commerce (IHK) Munich. 

Pakistan, straddling South Asia, West Asia and the landlocked Central Asia, presents a vast market of about 180 million people. According to IFC/ World Bank, Pakistan ranks number three in the region on Ease of Doing Business Index. A visit by leading businessmen from important and vibrant sectors of Pakistan’s economy will showcase to German businesses the plethora of opportunities that await investors in this yet to be discovered market. The visiting delegation will consist of representatives from sectors including energy, textile, manufacturing, agriculture and IT, among others.

A nation with 55% of the population under 25 years and an exponential university enrollment increase, Pakistan offers a talented and capable workforce. Pakistan’s IT industry is flourishing with strong linkages abroad. Pakistan is the world’s second largest cotton producer, and the fourth largest milk producer. Pakistani fruits are widely exported to South Asian and Middle Eastern markets. Pakistan Bamsati rice and sweet mangoes are second to none. 

Germany is Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the European Union. The German Federal Foreign Minister, Dr. G. Westerwelle, was the first foreign dignitary to visit Pakistan on 8 June and meet the country’s new leadership. With the availability of GSP plus facility to Pakistan next year, Pakistani products will get more competitive in the EU. Moreover, the revised Bilateral Investment Treaty between Pakistan and Germany is expected to enter into force this year. 

The business delegation will also include government officials, legal advisors and consultants to respond to queries related to doing business in Pakistan.