Pakistan and Canada can mutually benefit through cooperation in energy, fertiliser, education and agriculture fields and little sector-specific efforts could jack-up the trade volume to around $2 billion in a short span of time.
These views were expressed by the leader of opposition and head of the delegation of Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Canada, Patrick Brown, while speaking at the meeting with All Pakistan Business Forum.
Among others, the delegation included Ms. Salma Ataullah Jan (Canadian Senator of Pakistani origin), President of Canada Pakistan Business Council (CPBC) Samir Dossal, and Acting High Commissioner Andrew Turner.
Brown said that there were around 350,000 Pakistani-Canadians in Ontario. Now the third and fourth generations were taking their place as productive members of the society in a wide variety of professions, businesses and vocations.
Many such Canadians feel strongly about contributing to the betterment of the people of Pakistan, he said, adding that this group is also a natural bridge in promoting commerce and trade between the two countries.
Brown identified several areas including power, fertiliser, education and the agriculture sector for cooperation. With consistent efforts these areas could attract investment and technical knowledge from Canada to Pakistan, while the Canadian business could benefit significantly from a large and growing middle class of consumers in Pakistan.
On this occasion, All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) and Canada-Pakistan Business Council agreed to enhance trade and investment in Pakistan through joint ventures.
Highlighting the importance of cooperation, APBF President Ibrahim Qureshi said that there were a number of sectors that had a huge potential for cooperation, adding that livestock and agriculture were the two areas in which cooperation could benefit both the countries.
Qureshi said that the visit of Canadian delegation would help explore such business opportunities where people from the two countries could jointly start business ventures.
Pakistan is not only self-sufficient in food sector, but also has the capacity to supply processed food, he said.
The APBF and CPBC cooperation will be a landmark in developing trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Canada, he said, adding that it will have an effect of direct investment on project-to-project basis and to enhance market access for Pakistani goods to the Canadian market. The target could only be achieved by undertaking frequent activities such as exchange of business delegations, organising single-country exhibitions, seminars and workshops, Qureshi said.
The main sectors of opportunity for Canadian businessmen and joint ventures included power and energy, agriculture food-breeding stock, food processing equipment and technology, telecommunication / information technology, metals and minerals equipment, services and technology, he said. CPBC President Samir Dossal said that Canada pursued a wide range of interests in bilateral relations with Pakistan, including trade and investment, development cooperation, people-to-people links and governance.
Bilateral trade statistics of Pakistan and Canada showed both concern and hope, as the volume of trade with Canada was minimal in terms of its total trade, but there was a room for enhancing the current level of trade relations, he said.
Dossal said that Pakistan is a safe country and good business destination for foreigners. Canada highly values its relations with Pakistan and keen to further strengthen its economic ties with this country that is an important destination of the region.