The UAE and Pakistan plan to enhance cooperation on the economic front by overcoming the bottlenecks affecting bilateral trade and investment.
The foreign ministers of the two countries discussed economic issues and new ideas at the two-day meeting of the 10th UAE-Pakistan Joint Commission, which concluded in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Ways were discussed to build up their future relationship by enhancing cooperation in the fields of trade, investments, energy and telecoms.
Speaking at a joint Press conference after the meeting, UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “We’ve discussed in these meetings cooperation in the fields of energy, telecom, trade and investments to enhance relations between the two nations.”
When asked any specific projects has been identified to go forward, the minister said: “We’re facing some bottlenecks in some of the UAE investments in Pakistan. However, both countries have shown the commitment to overcome them through discussions.”
Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that the meeting has identified the potential areas and projects including the Khalifa Oil Refinery in Baluchistan. “We also seek the UAE’s cooperation in building hydro-electric dams in Pakistan.”
The two sides also discussed the idea to set up an investment vehicle, the UAE-Pakistan Joint Investment Company. “There are many things that we discussed, and we hope that we will be able to overcome the bottlenecks, create new vehicles and ease out doing business with each other,” Khar said.
Shaikh Abdullah said that the UAE will cooperate on starting negotiations on a free trade agreement between the GCC and Pakistan to boost relations. Khar expressed her satisfaction on achieving the objectives set in the previous meeting, as trade has grown to $6.7 billion in 2010-11 from $4.6 billion in 2006.
Khar said that Pakistan is looking forward to the third round of talks on the FTA with the GCC and asked for a special dispensation, since her nation has been badly affected by the regional conflicts. “And once this FTA is completed, we will obviously see much more forward trajectory.”
She said that the UAE-Pakistan Business Council would be operational soon. Pakistan has proposed the name and members and is waiting for the UAE to do the same.