Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar has described his visit to Qatar as “very productive” as he sees numerous business opportunities for both countries.
Umar has also stressed that he will try to make sure that the economic engagement between the two countries reaches an even higher level.
The minister made the observations while interacting with the media yesterday at Four Seasons Hotel Doha, where he had a meeting with representatives of the Pakistan Professionals’ Forum. He arrived in Qatar to attend the Doha Forum, a leading global policy forum held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
“Doha Forum is a platform where Pakistan needs to be present. We are living in the world of global connectivity. Pakistan wants to reach out to the world for promoting trade and investment opportunities,” he said. “I have had very useful interactions with people from different parts of the world. I met HE the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani and also had a detailed meeting with HE the Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi on Saturday. I also had meetings at Qatar Financial Centre. We exchanged ideas and opportunities both ways.”
Speaking about different sectors where both countries could improve economic co-operation, Umar said: “One obvious area for continued co-operation is LNG. Pakistan’s LNG demand is increasing rapidly. Qatar is already the biggest supplier to Pakistan. We have tremendous growth potential in the energy sector. Perhaps, the biggest economic opportunity, which is being created in Pakistan right now, is through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and special industrial zones that are being set up in Pakistan.”
In response to a question about the possibility of a currency swap agreement between Pakistan and Qatar, the minister said: “That is certainly something of interest for us. We have already started doing it with China. We will be more than happy to explore the possibility with other countries, including Qatar. One thing to do it in a meaningful way
is to increase two-way trade.
“Clearly, Qatar is the market with a lot of potential for Pakistan. That is one of the messages that I will be taking back. We need to bring Pakistani business here.”
About co-operation in the port sector, the minister noted: “There is a possibility. In fact, Gwadar Port has been attracting a lot of attention - it is the pivotal point of the CPEC. The most developed zone at the port is the Chinese economic zone. We are inviting other countries as well. We will be very keen that Qatar also comes in.”
When asked how he saw Qatar as a strategic partner, Asad added: “Pakistan’s stance is very clear. Pakistan not only wants peace but also friendly co-operation among all the Muslim countries. Pakistan is a part of building peace within the Muslim countries. Pakistan has good relations with every county in the region. Whatever support and help we can provide, Pakistan is willing to help out.”
Asad Umar in Doha yesterday. PICTURE: Ram Chand