Makkah, Karachi chambers to ink MoU boosting bilateral trade

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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
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Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief Hisham bin Mohammed Kaaki says interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments. (KCCI)
Updated 18 September 2019

Makkah, Karachi chambers to ink MoU boosting bilateral trade

  • Saudi Arabia is one of the top exporters to Pakistan
  • Mutual events and joint investment can help enhance bilateral business ties, says MCCI chief

KARACHI: Makkah and Karachi chambers of commerce and Industry have agreed to offer each other their respective premises for promotion of bilateral trade and investment, officials told Arab News on Tuesday.
“We have decided to sign an MoU under which the KCCI (Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry) will utilize the facilities of MCCI (Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry) in Saudi Arabia and the MCCI will utilize KCCI facilities for growth of bilateral trade and investment,” Junaid Ismail Makda, president of the KCCI told Arab News from Makkah who is on official visit of kingdom.
The two sides also agreed to exchange trade delegations to explore existing trade and investment opportunities in both countries, Makda said.
The Saudi delegation was led by Hisham Muhammad Kaaki, Chairman of the MCCI and also comprised of Ibrahim Fuad Bardeesi, secretary General of the Makkah Chamber and Fahad S. Damanhouri, Director of International Relations department of Makkah Chamber.
Makda who met with the officials of Saudi Export Development Authority (SEDA) on Monday, said that the authority had expressed its desire to host Pakistani importers of assorted products including construction and PVC pipes.
Earlier on Friday, the MCCI chief met with his Pakistani counterpart in Karachi to explore ways of jointly developing the business sector of the two countries.
The meeting, headed by the visiting Saudi official, aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and to mull over areas of shared interests for the business community in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Kaaki said that the visit to KCCI would help strengthen mutual cooperation, exchange of expertise, arrange bilateral visits and events, in addition to organizing forums and exhibitions to help develop private sector and result in strong ties between the entrepreneurs on both sides.
He added that interaction between the Saudi and Pakistani business community can be enhanced through various mutual activities, exhibitions and joint investments.
He lauded the relations between the two countries noting that he highly valued his visit to KCCI, which was Pakistan’s largest business body.
Ismail highlighted that Pakistan had a well developed textile and military industry, in addition to offering prospects in technology sector, civil engineering and other scopes of mutual interest. Organizing exhibitions would help strengthen bilateral ties indeed, he said.
The non-oil Saudi exports to Pakistan in the last five years are estimated at SR17 billion ($4.42 billion), including food items and construction material estimated at SR191 million and SR965 million respectively.
The Kingdom is one of the top exporters to Pakistan, while the latter exports textile goods, cloth, processed cotton, rice, meat, fruits, vegetables, spices, leather products, electronic and chemicals to Saudi Arabia.


Pakistan gets lifeline till Feb 2021 as FATF continues to keep it on grey list

Updated 23 October 2020

Pakistan gets lifeline till Feb 2021 as FATF continues to keep it on grey list

  • The country has completed 21 out of 27 items of the global financial watchdog’s action plan, acknowledges FATF officials
  • The government of Pakistan has signaled the commitment to complete the rest of the action plan, says the FATF president

KARACHI: The global financial watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), decided on Friday to keep Pakistan on its “grey list” while acknowledging that the country had made significant progress in meeting international anti-terrorism financing norms and should not be downgraded to the “blacklist.”

The FATF began its virtual plenary meeting on October 21 under the first two-year German presidency of Dr Marcus Pleyer.

“Pakistan will remain our increased monitoring list,” he announced after the end of the conference. “The plenary recognizes that Pakistan has made progress. The government has now completed 21 out of 27 items of its action plan. The government of Pakistan has signaled the commitment to complete the rest of its action plan.”

“Even though Pakistan has made progress it needs to do more,” he continued. “It cannot stop now and needs to carry out reforms in particular to implement targeted financial sanctions and prosecuting sanctions financing terrorism.”

Responding to a question, the FATF president said that onsite inspection would be carried out after the next plenary in February 2021 to decide about Pakistan’s exclusion from the grey list.

Pakistan was placed on the list of countries with inadequate controls over terrorism financing by the FATF in June 2018.

The Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), an inter-governmental organization in the Asia-Pacific region, issued the first Follow Up Report (FUR) on Pakistan last month.

The report reflected the country’s performance until February 2020 and noted that it had complied with only two recommendations related to financial institution secrecy laws and financial intelligence units out of 40 recommendations on the effectiveness of anti-money laundering and combating financing terror (AML/CFT) system.

However, Pakistan managed to pass three crucial FATF-related laws during a joint session of parliament in September this year. With these laws, the country managed to comply with most of the legislation required by the international watchdog to strength the country’s financial system.

The FATF “strongly” urged Pakistan in February this year to complete its full action plan by June 2020, warning it would take action against the country which could include advising financial institutions to give special attention to business relations and transactions with Pakistan. Later, the deadline was extended and the country was given time until October 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pakistan also punished Hafiz Saeed, a Jamaat-ud-Dawa leader, in a terror financing case and decided to send him to prison for five and a half years.

Commenting on the FATF decision, financial experts said the decision to keep Pakistan on grey list owed to the government’s hasty legislation.

“The most vital issue relates to the roles assigned to the AML-CFT authority and self-regulatory bodies. These laws give powers to regulate AML-CFT to various government and professional bodies. They were not carefully drafted, create conflict of interest, and are complicated and ambiguous,” Dr Ikram ul Haq, a Lahore-based senior economist, said after the FATF decision.

The FATF blacklist have international pariah states like Iran and North Korea, and these countries are shunned by international financial institutions.