News & Events
Great scope for better trade with Switzerland: CG
Feb 09, 2017
KARACHI: The Consul General of Switzerland in Karachi, Mr Philippe Crevoisier, has said that the investment and trade figures between the two countries were encouraging but were still low. This needed to be improved but this is not going to be an easy task.
Speaking at a meeting the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said that although the potential for more trade exists, efforts must be made to improve the image of Pakistan in order in Switzerland to transform this situation into success.
“In order to attract more Swiss business and investment in Karachi, we will have to concentrate on improving the perception about the security situation of Karachi and the overall image of Pakistan, which is of big importance,” he said.
Philippe Crevoisier pointed out that Switzerland has been in Pakistan since its independence and many Swiss companies were successfully doing business here in Karachi. “We are being represented not only in Islamabad but also in Karachi which is a very good sign as many European countries were not present here. This clearly indicates that we actually see the potential and I am trying to understand how to transform this potential into a success story,” he added.
Philippe Crevoisier said that Switzerland’s industry consists of 80 percent SMEs which were well-organized to quickly react to numerous markets and they were looking forward to enhancing their exports to new markets. But Pakistan was not on the priority list of these companies mainly due to the negative perception it conveys.
He was convinced that the overall security situation was much better, compared what it used to be. Its improvement in the last few years was likely to encourage many Swiss companies to get into this market and look for opportunities.
He said that Karachi has a huge potential for Swiss companies, and it is a good sign that many businessmen from Karachi were eager to do business with Switzerland.
KCCI president Shamim Ahmed Firpo said that Karachi, which is the economic and financial hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to Swiss Investors.
This city, which contributes more than 65 percent revenue to the national exchequer, is an attractive place for Swiss SMEs, which can earn maximum profits by exploring opportunities in Karachi.
Commenting on Pakistan-Switzerland relations, he said the two countries have always enjoyed cordial, friendly and multi-faceted ties. It is heartening to note that Switzerland is ranked fifth in terms of foreign direct investment in Pakistan and was a reliable trading partner.
He said that many Swiss companies operating in Pakistan are engaged in sectors including energy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agricultural solutions, catering, cigarette manufacturing, food, telecommunication, quality testing, machinery and construction material. The business community warmly welcomes this but many other important sectors also offer lucrative opportunities, and exploring opportunities in these sectors should be considered by Swiss companies.
He noted that during FY2015-16, Pakistan exported goods worth $65 million to Switzerland, as against exports of $94 million during the same period in the preceding year, showing a decline of 31 percent, which needs attention. Imports from Switzerland increased by 13.5 percent, compared to $736 million, compared to $648 million a year earlier. The trade balance is therefore heavily tilted in favour of Switzerland, he added.
He was of the view that potential exists for Swiss businessmen to invest in Pakistan on 100 percent equity basis or as joint ventures with local industries. Pakistan can greatly benefit from Swiss expertise in energy, mining and agriculture, as well as the equity market. The possibility of cooperation also exists in supply of raw materials and finished products for fertilizers, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, he added.
Source : epaper.brecorder.com/2017/02/09/8-page/848115-news.html
Pakistan is ideal for investment, PM tells entrepreneurs
Jan 20, 2017
DAVOS: Pakistan is on the track of sustainable growth and is “ready to do business with the world”, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on late Wednesday.
In his address to leading businessmen at a dinner hosted by Abraaj Group on the sidelines of the 47th World Economic Forum (WEF), he said, “Offering attractive investment policies, Pakistan is a destination that no global player can miss. I invite you to take benefit from the economic revival of Pakistan and enjoy the first mover’s advantage.”
Stressing on the need for collaboration and cooperation, he said, “Without peace and stability, development remains an elusive dream.”
He mentioned that Pakistan’s Vision 2025 served as a comprehensive strategy for achieving sustainable growth and mapped the country to join the top 25 economies in the world leading to Upper Middle Income country status by 2025.
He said the economy was targeted to grow over 8 per cent between 2018 and 2025 while maintaining single digit inflation.
The PM told the businessmen there was no minimum requirement for the amount of foreign equity, investment or upper limit on the share of foreign equity allowed except in the airline, banking, agriculture and media sectors and foreign companies were allowed to repatriate 100 per cent profits.
The prime minister highlighted that Pakistan was the fourth largest milk producing country with third largest livestock population in the world.
The recent decision of Dutch leaders to invest $460 million in Pakistan’s food and dairy sector is a testament of our potential, he stressed.
He said the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a key regional initiative for connectivity and shared prosperity of nations.
Investors at the event spoke highly of Pakistan’s successful economic policies.
Managing Partner of Abraaj Group Mustafa al Wadood said his company had invested over $700m in financial, consumer and energy sectors.
Michael Renee of McKinsey and Company praised Pakistan’s stable economic policies and said improved security was now a big attraction for foreign investors.
Citibank Vice President Jay Collins said his bank was proud to be amongst the top banks serving Pakistan’s public and private sector. He said the bank raised $2.5bn worth of strategic transactions for Pakistan and the foreign companies.
Nitin Paranjpe, president of Unilever’s Home Care business, said his company has built a large business base in Pakistan and will continue with its commitment.
Arif Naqvi, CEO of Abraaj Group said Pakistan was a country that was on the move and offered fantastic potential.
Pakistan, Norway to focus on trade
Meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg on the sidelines of WEF, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan greatly valued its relations with Norway.
He apprised the Norwegian premier of his government’s focus on trade and economic cooperation, rather than aid. The Norwegian premier appreciated Pakistan’s economic revival.
On the occasion, PM Sharif extended an invitation to the Norwegian premier to visit Pakistan.
Incentives for investors
Pakistan has devised a comprehensive plan to create an investment friendly environment and is liberalising its policies to welcome foreign entrepreneurs, PM Sharif said on Thursday.
He was talking to heads of top ranking companies at a roundtable on the sidelines of WEF.
“We offer incentives to attract new capital inflows, including tax exemptions, tariff reductions, infrastructure, and investor facilitation services,” the prime minister said.
The chief executive officers present at the roundtable included Japan Bank for International Cooperation’s CEO and Executive Managing Director Tadashi Maeda, Ingredion Incorporated USA’s CEO and Chairman Ilele Gordon, Koc Holding Turkey’s CEO Levent Cakiroglu,
Telenor Group’s President and CEO Sigve Brekke, Nestle Asia’s Executive Vice President Wan Ling Novartis AG’s Head Public Affairs Petra Lox, Swiss Re Management Ltd’s Global Partnerships Chairman Martyn Parker.
Source : www.dawn.com/news/1309554/pakistan-is-ideal-for-investment-pm-tells-entrepreneurs
Raheel Sharif at Davos
Jan 20, 2017
From Ikram Sehgal
DAVOS: The PAKISTAN BREAKFAST in Davos during the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meetings since 2002 is now known as the traditional PAKISTAN BREAKFAST. The President of Pakistan, the Prime Minister or a prominent Pakistani personality is usually the Chief Guest. Graced by Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif in 2016, Arif Naqvi of Abraaj, hosted a well-attended dinner instead with good speakers and tremendous Pakistani food on Wednesday 18 Jan evening.
Gen Raheel Sharif (retd) was the PATH FINDER chief guest the next morning. He focused on how the security situation was controlled with enormous sacrifices by both Pakistani soldiers and civilians. This allowed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to become an economically feasible reality, a game-changer for Pakistan and for the region. The audience joined the panelists in vocally acclaiming the former Army Chief’s steely campaign against terrorism and the unique relationship he has with the people of Pakistan. Within the Congress Centre he was stopped repeatedly by the elite wanting to shake his hands.
Among the guests at the PAKISTAN BREAKFAST were Henry Ross Perot Jr, Chairman of the Perot Companies, Dr Urs Lustenberger, President of the Executive Board, Swiss-Asian Chambers of Commerce, Switzerland, Daisy Guo Xiaoqian, Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer, Tezign.com China, HH Shaikh Salman Al Khalifa, Honorary Chairman, The Bahrain Petroleum Co,. Elizabeth G Weymouth, Senior Associate Editor, The Washington Post, Jerry Torres Chief Executive Officer, Torres AES, Francis Matthew from Gulf News and a host of others, more than 200 packed into the SALON ATLANTIS (Room for 150 only) of the STEIGENBERGER BELVEDERE at 7 am in the morning. From Pakistan Hussain Dawood, Group Chairman, Dawood Hercules Corporation Ltd, M. Javed Akhai Chairman Martin Dow Ltd, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Faisal Basheer CEO UBL Switzerland AG, etc.
Raheel Sharif had a number of high profile security-related interactive sessions in Davos, ‘The Global Security Context’ was moderated by Robin Niblett Director of Chatham House with Victor L. L. Chu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, First Eastern Investment Group, Hong Kong SAR, Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Saudi Arabia. Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Minister of Defence of Germany and George Yeo, Visiting Scholar, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore as Panelists. Revolving around the noteworthy changes and emerging trends reshaping the international security agenda, dimensions addressed were (1) Recalibration of US security priorities; (2) Geostrategic shifts; and (3) Future conflict domains. Gen Sharif’s next session entitled “Terrorism in the Digital Age” was moderated by Louise Richardson, Vice-Chancellor, University of Oxford, United Kingdom. Gen Raheel Sharif was joined by Jean-Paul Laborde, Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director, Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, United Nations, New York, Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Chairman and Rob Wainwright, Director, Europol (European Police Office), The Hague. Pakistan’s successful fight against terrorism was repeatedly acclaimed by all the panelists, most questions from the audience were directed at Raheel Sharif.
Shekhar Gupta, formerly of Indian Express, asked the former COAS pointedly the Indian narrative about how Pakistan could kill “snakes” in the front yard while harbouring them in the backyard, Raheel Sharif said the Army did not differentiate between killing snakes, whatever hue and colour they were and wherever they were, including “those in the adjoining region”. He said non-state actors (NSAs) play a role in accelerating tensions between nations, especially neighbours. Any spectacular attack with linkages to one country can cause huge problems. It is important to resolve the core issues of Kashmir and Palestine.
The former COAS said that terrorism was a dangerous phenomenon as terrorists can morph and mutate quickly. Bound by protocols, human rights and diplomatic issues we lack cohesive measures while terrorists recognize no boundaries and their attacks are well planned. They now have proxies where small groups carry out suicide bombings, etc on the bidding of larger groups. As counter measures we must have comprehensive response against financers, abettors and sympathizers. Intelligence sharing was the key to success with quick response initiated on actionable intelligence. Leading nations must develop protocols, counter-narrative and counter-measures, UNHCR Resolution 1373 clearly outlines responsibility of all nations as it is a common obligation i.e. prevent movement of terrorists, early warning to other states, deny safe havens to those who finance, plan or cooperate with them.
Gen Raheel elucidated some steps that can be taken, viz. (1) educate youth, radicals to be de-radicalized and taught skills to become member of society, (2) develop programs to go side by side with kinetic programme, (3) punish hardcore terrorists who are beyond de-radicalization, (4) follow up after every violent incident instead of waiting for the next one and (5) the free world must go on a “surge” to fight terrorism on all fronts and dimensions. He said that terrorism in the digital age has software and hardware part, the developed world lacks the software to deter terrorists i.e. developing global norms by consensus and finding acceptable political solutions acceptable to all parties.
Gen Raheel said that he saw more decentralization as “we have not been able to control the spread, ideological or kinetic” as hardcore terrorists returning to their home countries can act as breeding grounds. The cyber threat is not to be seen as ‘one size fit all’ because developing countries rely less on cyber technology, as opposed to the developed ones, however their military infrastructure, banking sector, air travel, etc are critical infrastructure and at risk. In the future educated persons will pose bigger challenge than uneducated derailed suicide bombers. Crackdown on financiers and facilitators is key to success alongwith religious counter narrative. While technological advancements have created new vulnerabilities for the States and new opportunities for non-state actors (NSAs), the technologically advanced countries have greater capability of promoting and protecting their interests as compared to the developing world.
Gen Raheel was impressive in Davos, he exuded confidence and a charisma not felt by Pakistanis at Davos for a long time. His presence in Davos gave out a strong message about Pakistan’s positive image and stance on terrorism. Not being privy to the subject matter of the PM’s bilateral meetings, one cannot comment on them. The former COAS emphasized that his successor Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, would maintain the momentum against terrorism, he was confident he would vastly improve upon it. Davos-ians are a hard-bitten cynical lot, certainly not naïve or gullible so their spontaneous applause was extremely satisfying. Not supported by a vast delegation with full-fledged logistics support, Raheel Sharif with only one person accompanying him, did Pakistan and the Pakistan Army proud at Davos.
(The writer is a defence and security analyst)
Source : epaper.brecorder.com/2017/01/20/23-page/841460-news.html
PM, Swiss president for expanding economic ties
Jan 19, 2017
DAVOS: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Switzerland’s President Doris Leuthard on Wednesday stressed the need for exploring new avenues of cooperation and strengthening bilateral relations.
The two leaders made these observations during a meeting on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting here.
The prime minister informed the Swiss president that Pakistan deeply valued its relations with Switzerland and looked forward to enhancing bilateral partnership in diverse areas.
Terming Switzerland a friend and an important trade and investment partner of Pakistan, he lauded the country’s objective, non-discriminatory and criteria-based approach on the issue of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) membership.
“We hope that as part of the NSG troika, Switzerland would continue to maintain this principled stand, especially when it takes over the chair of the group later this year,” the prime minister said.
The Swiss president said her county’s stance on the issue of NSG was non-discriminatory and based on principles. Prime Minister Sharif said Pakistan wanted peaceful and amicable resolution of all outstanding issues with India.
He praised efforts of the Swiss-Asian Chamber of Commerce, Swiss Global Enterprise (SGE) and Swiss Business Council (SBC) for introducing Pakistan to the country’s business houses, especially small and medium enterprises.
He also thanked the Swiss government for offering postgraduate scholarships to students from Pakistan at various public universities. The Swiss president said that despite challenges faced by Pakistan, her government was happy to see fast progress made by the country in economy.
She said Swiss companies were willing to work in Pakistan and her government was also willing to join hydroelectric power projects.
Switzerland currently ranks fifth in terms of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Pakistan. It has traditionally run a trade surplus with Pakistan and has been one of the country’s biggest direct investors for several years.
Many Swiss companies operate in Pakistan, some with their own production sites. These firms are mainly based in Karachi and employ around 12,000 people.
WEF chairman: The prime minister also held a meeting with WEF Chairman Klaus Schwab and briefed him on his economic agenda and vision for a progressive Pakistan.
Mr Schwab praised the progress of Pakistan on the economic front and also shared his feedback about the country after meeting various business leaders.
He informed the prime minister that the business leaders considered Pakistan a great investment destination.
He appreciated progress of Pakistan in the infrastructure sector and said the country was now ready to lead the regional connectivity initiative with Central Asia.
He said Pakistan was now attracting business groups from abroad, owing to improved security and improvement in the energy sectors.
During a meeting with Group Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Jose Vinals, Mr Sharif said Pakistan was now the new attractive destination for foreign investors and it offered security and attractive returns.
Mr Vinals said that profile of Pakistan had gone up significantly and added that its economic matrix was moving in the right direction.
Source : www.dawn.com/news/1309311/pm-swiss-president-for-expanding-economic-ties
PM in Switzerland for Davos meeting
Jan 17, 2017
ZURICH: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived here on Monday to participate in the 47th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) which is aimed at fostering greater social inclusion and human development.
Accompanied by Ms Kulsoom Nawaz and Special Assistant Tariq Fatemi, the prime minister was received at the Zurich airport by Permanent Representative to the United Nations Mission to Geneva Tehmina Janjua and Swiss officials.
Mr Sharif is here on the invitation of WEF Executive Chairman Prof Klaus Schwab. He will present Pakistan’s case of economic success and business and investment opportunities, besides attracting foreign direct investment by inviting leading firms to invest in the country.
The theme for this year’s meeting is ‘Responsive and responsible leadership’, which will focus on critical leadership challenges for 2017 — revitalising the global economy, reforming capitalism and preparing for the fourth industrial revolution.
Around 3,000 leaders from governments, businesses and civil society will gather at the meeting from Jan 17 to 20 in Davos-Klosters.
The participants include one-third from outside Europe and North America, while one-third will be representing the society outside of business and government.
The prime minister will meet Prof Schwab. His meetings with the prime ministers of Sweden, Norway and Sri Lanka and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands are also expected.
He will meet the new UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Swiss President Doris Leuthard.
According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, the prime minister will address about 60 business leaders on ‘Investing in Pakistan: the new reality’.
He will have a roundtable meeting to share with a select group of business leaders the significant economic changes taking place in the country and the immense investment and trade opportunities.
The WEF meeting will be opened by President Xi Jinping of China, who will be accompanied by the largest delegation of Chinese officials since the country first participated in the event 1979.
In keeping with the theme, over half of the programme’s 400 sessions will address strategies for fostering greater social inclusion and human development. Chief executive officers of over 1,000 companies will participate in the forum.
The co-chairs taking a principal role in shaping the discussion at the meeting are: Brian Moynihan, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America, (United States); Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, documentary filmmaker, SOC Films (Pakistan); Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Chief Executive Officer, Save the Children International (United Kingdom); Frans van Houten, President and CEO, Royal Philips (The Netherlands); and Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, (US).
Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rahman Khan will also speak at the forum.
Minister of State for National Health Services Saira Afzal Tarar will speak on ‘Raising life expectancy and expectations’.
Source : www.dawn.com/news/1308858/pm-in-switzerland-for-davos-meeting