Mr. Majid Raza Bhutta
· Welcomed Mr. Takashi Harada, Counsellor and head of Economic Development Section, Embassy of Japan on his visit to Sialkot Chamber for discussing the prospects of improving bilateral trade between the two countries.
· Told that Sialkot was an export oriented city, with an entirely different industry from rest of Pakistan.
· Told that the products were purely value added.
Mr. TAKASHI HARADA
· Thanked the Sialkot Business community for the warm welcome and hospitality.
· Appreciated the dynamic industry of Sialkot and said that the city and its people were indeed outstanding.
· Said that in past because of the serious security concerns in Pakistan Japanese were hesitant to visit Pakistan
· Admitted that the security conditions improved dramatically, and Japanese were keen to establish good trade links with Pakistan.
· Said that Sialkot could be a gateway to re-engage Japanese Businessmen in Pakistan.
· Told that he visited a surgical and sports unit and were willing to invest in the sectors.
· Said that spinning machines could be sold to Pakistan as Japanese were keen to invest in technology.
Mr. Qaiser Baryar
· Said that Sialkot Industry had immense potential. The products being produced in Sialkot had great demand in Japanese market.
· Told that currently the industry was in transition stage from low tech to high tech, pointed out that it was the right time to join hands with Japan as Japanese assistance in technology upgradation could take the industry to next level.
· Elaborated that the sportswear manufacturers were dependent on China for the import of fabric as right material was not available in the country. He told that Pakistan had strength in cotton but in sports wear polyester was being used.
· Said that the companies import the material from china and do the necessary value addition but if the required material could be produced in local industry it would be more convenient and cost effective.
· Pointed out that by choosing right partners and technology the material could be produced in Pakistan. Requested Japan to help in the establishment of fabrication units as the Sialkot industry lack dying, spinning and knitting facilities.
· Emphasized that the interaction between the two communities should be increased for better trade relations.
· Exchange of delegations, official visits and Single country Exhibitions should be focused for bridging the gap.
· Said that Pakistan was doing indirect export to Japan, the products being exported to European countries are being sold to Japanese buyers.
· Direct export should be encouraged as it would be more beneficial for both the buyer and exporter.
· Suggested that Japan could also make an exception for Pakistan like European Union did by granting GSP+ status.
Mr. Adnan Arshad Sethi
· Welcomed Mr. Takashi Harada and appreciated his vision for promotion of bilateral trade.
· Said that the trade numbers between the two countries had not been as impressing as it should had been considering the potential available.
· Pointed out that Pakistan’s Exports to Japan had been facing a decreasing trend. In 2013 the Exports were USD 198 M which reduced to USD 182 M in 2014 and USD 176 M in 2015
· Said that Japan is perusing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) led Foreign Trade strategy and had signed FTA’s with Turkey, India, Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia and allowing greater market access to these FTA partner countries in the Japanese market making exports from Pakistan less competitive.
· Highlighted that Japanese visa policy was very strict making it difficult for a Pakistani businessman to get a business visa to Japan even after recommendation by TDAP and Sialkot Chamber.
· Said that the tariffs should be reduced to promote bilateral trade.
Mr. Khawar Spall
· Said that Japan was a very good market was Sialkot based products.
· Told that last year a delegation from Sialkot Chamber visited Japan which was quite successful.
· Told that JICA played a very supportive role in facilitating the delegation.
· Said that along with FTA’s and tariff issues, importance of Trade delegations and exhibitions should also be considered.
· Requested the Commercial Counsellor to help in arranging delegations and Single country exhibitions so that the potential of Sialkot Industry be exhibited in Japan.
· Told that SCCI had already requested Pakistan Embassy in Japan and JICA to help Sialkot Chamber in arranging a Single country exhibition in Tokyo or Osaka. Asked for assistance from Japan Embassy in this regard.
Mr. TAKASHI HARADA
· Said that visa issues were there and the message would be conveyed to the visa section for necessary facilitation.
· Told that there had been some cases where people did not return back to Pakistan with in the time granted by the Embassy. Said that over stay issues force for a strict visa policy to be followed.
· Said that voices had also been raised from Pakistan Government to reduce the tariff rates.
· Told that tariff schemes were for less developing countries like Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia etc. whereas Pakistan was not a less developing country.
· Said that Free Trade Agreement could be a suitable option for providing some relaxations in Tariffs.
· Said that if Japanese Government reduce tariff on textiles than Pakistan Government should also reduce tariff on automobiles. It should be both ways, he added.
· Said that business community should push the Government for materializing FTA as it would be a suitable option.
· The considerations from both sides would be studied for coming up with an agreement that would benefit both the countries.
Mr. Majid Raza Bhutta
· Commented that Japan had signed FTA with India whereas their Tariff on automobiles is higher than Pakistan’s.
· He said that Japan is a good market and Sialkot Industry would request the Commerce Ministry to sign FTA for improving trade between the two countries.
· Once again thanked Mr. Takashi Harada, Counsellor and head of Economic Development Section, Embassy of Japan on visiting Sialkot Chamber.