Pakistan's Ambassador to Kuwait Iftekhar Aziz has praised his country's bilateral economic relations with Kuwait, noting that they have always been historical and distinctive.
"Indeed, Kuwait's relationship with Pakistan dates way back to history, especially in trade and economy fields," the Pakistani Ambassador told KUNA in an interview at the embassy headquarters, adding that "when trade used to take place between Kuwait and Indian subcontinent countries, Karachi would be the first stop for Kuwaiti sailing ships." He was alluding to Kuwaiti ancestors' sea commercial activities, in the pre-oil times early last century, when they used to trade and trasnport commodities aboard wooden dhows.
Aziz indicated that there is currently a phenomenal scope of mutual cooperation between Islamabad and Kuwait in fields of economy, science, technology, medical, and education, adding that there is also a cultural cooperation and scholarship exchanges between the two states in areas such as arts, Islamic law (Shari'a) and military defense.
"Pakistan has one of the best defense services in the world as far as army and air force. We have been providing scholarships to people from GCC countries not only in defense services, but also in other fields as well," he explained, affirming that "Pakistan is still ready, willing, and committed to provide educational facilities to its Kuwaiti brothers and sisters." He expressed his hope that bilateral relations would be strengthened and witness further progress, also wishing that the Kuwaiti authorities grant further facilities for visa-seeking Pakistani citizens.
On the other hand, he noted the upcoming unprecedented Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) summit, to be held in Kuwait in October, would be very significant, pointing out that this initiative was proposed by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah last year.
"I hope that this first summit of the ACD would translate into a regular dialogue of all Asian countries at the highest possible level. Until now, it has only been an event where member-states would discuss regional and Asian problems and issues," said Aziz.
"Forums such as the ACD would help evolve a platform for Asian countries to be able to speak with one voice in international affairs. We are very thankful to the vision of HH the Amir for proposing this kind of event," he added.
On the upcoming 7th Expo Pakistan 2012, one of the country's biggest trade fair to be held in Karachi between October 3rd and 7th, Ambassador Aziz said that this annual event would primarily showcase the export potential of Pakistan, as well as the largest collection of Pakistan's export merchandise and services.
He indicated that the success of last year's fair, Expo Pakistan 2011, was manifested by the participation of a large number of local and international investors who settled business deals estimated at USD 518 million, compared to USD 80 million the year before.
"The Expo aims to inform the general public that Pakistan has been and continue to do business with people from all over the world," Aziz said, adding that Kuwait has been a regular participant at this exhibition, mostly through its private companies.
"Primarily, Kuwait is an importer of all sorts of products and materials from all over the world. If we could collaborate our efforts together, we can then provide the facilities for Kuwaiti investors in Pakistan not only to invest, but also to export the products from Pakistan to Kuwait, Gulf, and other places in the world," said the Ambassador.
He said that this year's Expo will witness participation of 12 Kuwaiti companies specialized in food products, fisheries, meat, engineering, industrial items, carpets and textiles.
In the same context, the Pakistani diplomat pointed out that volume of trade exchange between the two countries has crossed over USD 3.5 billion, mostly in crude oil imports from Kuwait, noting at the same time that Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has also been very active in investing in Pakistan for the last 20 years, especially in infrastructure and energy projects.
"Primarily we are importing crude oil from Kuwait, but as far as Pakistani exports to Kuwait; they are mainly food products and ingredients, textile products, industrial and engineering items, carpets and some construction materials," Aziz said, adding that the total Pakistani marine exports, such as fish and sea food, to Kuwait come in the vicinity of USD 8 to 10 billion.
He disclosed that there is an ongoing current negotiation of a possible free trade agreement between Pakistan and GCC countries, adding that "Kuwait has been very kind in indicating its support for this initiative."