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LAHORE: Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Singapore Rukhsana Afzal has stressed the need for improving direct interaction of businessmen with their counterparts in Singapore for enhancing bilateral trade volume, a statement said on Tuesday.

Talking to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) president Mian Nauman Kabir on zoom, she said there were huge opportunities of foreign direct investment from Singapore in various sectors of the economy.

Rukhsana Afzal said that more than 8,000 Indian and more than 4,000 US companies were working in Singapore.
“[The] reason for this huge economic activity is that Singapore is one of the most liberal economies in the world. Singapore is ranked very high in the index of ease of doing business. Being a member of the Asean region, it has open trade with member countries on more than 90 per cent tariff lines,” she said.

Pakistani fruits, especially mangoes and oranges were in huge demand in Singapore, she said.

“We are trying to introduce more fruits here. Singapore has not applied any strict conditions on imports. Only condition is quality assurance,” she said.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan should take benefit from the expertise of Singapore for improving regulatory environment and business climate.

There was a need to minimise trade deficit, he said, adding that Pakistan’s exports to Singapore mainly comprises vegetables, leather and rice.

“Our imports from Singapore consist of vessels, plastic products, chemicals and machinery,” he said.

LCCI senior vice president Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and vice president Haris Ateeq said that Pakistan should enter into negotiations with Singapore for signing a free trade agreement.

Singapore had already signed more than 25 regional free trade agreements (FTAs), they said, adding that two countries could collaborate in the IT sector through joint ventures.

There was a great potential of enhancing exports of the value-added textiles, he added.

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