Six Pakistani companies register in Saudi Arabia to export meat to kingdom

A butcher wearing a facemask carries goat meat at a market during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Islamabad on April 9, 2020. (AFP/File)
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Updated 02 November 2020

Six Pakistani companies register in Saudi Arabia to export meat to kingdom

  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan in February 2019 proved to be a ‘milestone in trade diplomacy’
  • Islamabad’s exports to Riyadh increased to $446 million in 2019-20 from $342 million in 2018-19

ISLAMABAD: The government is trying to boost exports of halal meat and other perishable and non-perishable items to Saudi Arabia to further enhance economic diplomacy between the two countries, a senior official said this week.
The country’s federal cabinet has recently approved export of livestock to Middle Eastern countries, especially Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to earn foreign exchange and boost farmers’ profitability.
“Our six meat exporting companies have recently registered with the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, removing a major obstacle in our way to export to Saudi Arabia,” Aliya Hamza Malik, parliamentary secretary for commerce, industries and production, told Arab News in an interview.
Islamabad’s exports to Riyadh increased to $446 million in 2019-20 from $342 million in 2018-19 which Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government described as a “great achievement.”
Malik said that Pakistan’s exports to Saudi Arabia registered a significant increase during the coronavirus pandemic when the country’s overall international trade had declined.

Pakistan’s export-led industry got a boost when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Islamabad in February last year along with the business delegations and vowed to enhance trade between the two countries.
“The great breakthrough [in the trade] came when the crown prince visited Pakistan and around three hundred businessmen from both sides interacted with each other,” she said. “It was a milestone in trade diplomacy.”
Pakistan has also upgraded its trade mission in Saudi Arabia to boost its exports after clearing all hurdles, including registration of companies in the Kingdom.
“The trade balance is in the favor of Pakistan right now,” Malik said, adding that a Saudi-Pak joint working group on trade and investment had held meetings to find out the ways to further boost cooperation between the two allies.
She said that Pakistani businessmen and investors were preparing to participate in the Jeddah International Trade Fair 2020 to exhibit their products for the Saudi market and fetch more export orders.
Pakistan has also set up a display gallery in its Jeddah consulate where samples of its export goods and promotional material are available to everyone. “This shows how serious is our government in establishing trade between the two countries,” she said.
The parliamentary secretary said that a Pakistani business delegation of about 30 companies had recently visited Saudi Arabia to explore the trade opportunities and support the Saudi Vision 2030 that aims to reduce the Kingdom’s dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors such as health, education and tourism.
Pakistan’s major exports to the Kingdom are rice, meat, fruit and vegetables, men’s garments and footwear. “Pakistan was known for its cotton and textile exports … but we are now going for the non-traditional things to diversify our trade,” she added.
“In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is Pakistan’s top export destination,” she said. “We are getting a good response [from the Saudis] and we are expecting that this will also help strengthen our brotherly relations.”

PM's adviser denies UAE ban on import of workers from Pakistan

Updated 26 November 2020

PM's adviser denies UAE ban on import of workers from Pakistan

  • Zulfikar Bukhari says the number of Pakistani knowledge workers in the UAE has increased by 11 percent
  • Foreign office spokesperson rejects media reports characterizing 'the attitude of UAE authorities toward Pakistan as hostile'

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari denied a media report on Thursday, saying the United Arab Emirates had not imposed a ban on the import of Pakistani workforce.
According to a story published by Reuters on Wednesday, the UAE had stopped issuing new visas to the citizens of 13 Muslim-majority countries, including Pakistan.
The wire service maintained that it had seen a document issued by a state-owned business park in the Gulf state and quoted an unnamed source that claimed that the decision was taken due to security reasons.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari holds a virtual meeting with United Arab Emirates Minister for Human Resources and Emiratization Nasser bin Thani in Islamabad on November 26, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis)

Bukhari said in a Twitter post on Thursday, however, that he had discussed the issue with a top UAE official who categorically denied that such a ban had been imposed on the import of Pakistani workforce.

He added that the number of "Pakistani knowledge workers" had increased in the UAE by 11 percent, adding that the Pakistani nationals who were laid off during the pandemic and registered on Virtual Labor Market Databases were given priority.

Addressing the weekly media briefing, Pakistan's foreign office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri also maintained that the media report was not confirmed by the UAE authorities.
"The developments regarding a change in visa policy of the UAE for Pakistani nationals and its purported causes have not been confirmed by the UAE," he said during the press briefing on Thursday.
Chaudhri said the foreign ministry was in touch with UAE officials in this connection.
"We do not agree with the media reports that characterize the attitude of UAE authorities toward Pakistan as hostile," he continued, adding that millions of Pakistanis worked and peacefully resided in the Gulf country with the approval of its government.
"Isolated events should not be used to cast aspersions over the nature of Pakistan’s longstanding fraternal ties with the UAE," he said.