Islamabad, 12 January 2023 (TDI): The President of Pakistan, Arif Alvi held an official meeting with the outgoing High Commissioner of the United Kingdom (UK) to Pakistan, Christian Turner, at Aiwan-e-Sadr.

They discussed matters of common interest and the prospects of strengthening bilateral ties between Pakistan and the UK in defense, security, and counter-terrorism cooperation.

Remarks by the President of Pakistan

Alvi highlighted the importance of taking concrete action to expand Pakistan and the UK’s bilateral trade, which was $3.1 billion in 2021, to $ 10 billion annually.

In this vein, the President added, “This could be achieved in a short span of time by fully utilizing the existing opportunities, exploring new avenues and markets, diversifying products and services, and ensuring economic and political stability in the country.”

The President claimed that improved bilateral ties would result in significantly more trade & investment from the UK in Pakistan. It would also assist to improve the economic situation of the nation.

Alvi welcomed Pakistan’s inclusion in the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS). He expressed a desire to expedite the signing of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in order to significantly improve trade.

Also read: UK announces projects for Pakistan CFA initiative

Along these lines, he highlighted, “DCTS will replace the GSP in early 2023. It will provide tariff reductions and simpler terms to Pakistan including duty-free exports of over 94% of goods from Pakistan to the UK.”

While talking about UK’s investment in Pakistan, Alvi informed, “120 British companies are operating in the country with cumulative investments of around $10 billion.

The Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) increased by 22% in the financial year 2020-21 rising from US$117 million to US$143 million.”

Education cooperation

The President also urged the need for increased education cooperation. He suggested creating a system through the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) involving the Pakistani diaspora in the UK.

They would transfer their knowledge, and expertise to Pakistani students which will improve the country’s education system.

Alvi stressed the importance of forging connections between AIOU and UK higher education institutions. This will support faculty interchange and collaboration in important areas of science and technology, especially IT.

Remarks by High Commissioner

Christian Turner said that Pakistan with its English-speaking workforce and its proximity to the Middle East was ideally placed for making investments by the UK-based companies.

Also read: Swift Transition at 10th Downing Street: A Test for Rishi Sunak

He concluded by saying that the certainty in the economic outlook, political stability, and sustained policies would further help in attracting UK investment in Pakistan.