Business Recorder (Pakistan)
Content provided by Asianet-Pakistan

Honorary Consul of Republic of Mauritius Sohail Yasin Suleman has said that Mauritius offers Pakistan lucrative opportunities to boost trade and investment in Mauritius and trade with 47 countries in Africa through Mauritius. Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the KCCI, he said that although Mauritius itself was a small country with a population of 1.3 million but it was the gateway to 47 countries in Africa with a huge population of 650 million.

“The business and industrial community of Karachi can have a duty-free access to all these countries through Mauritius,” he said. He formally invited the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry to visit Mauritius which offers abundant trade and investment opportunities to the business and industrial community of Karachi. Highlighting some of the key features about setting up businesses in Mauritius, Sohail Yasin informed that the rules to do so were transparent and it was very easy to establish business units in this important country.

“The Mauritian government plans to establish a Pharmaceutical Village and a Free Zone where Pakistani businessmen and Industrialists can get a level playing field to efficiently compete with their Indian counterparts who have capitalised the Mauritian market,” he said, adding that Mauritius, being the land of opportunities, offered profitable business in different sectors of the economy particularly fisheries, real estate development and pharmaceutical, etc.

Besides eye-catching tourism opportunities, Mauritius is also an attractive place for the film industry as the Mauritian government offers 40 percent rebate to anyone who intends to shoot a film or drama in Mauritius. This offer, he said, was being availed heavily by the Indian film and drama industry.

Sohail Yasin Suleman advised that although some Pakistani films and dramas have been produced in Mauritius, yet the industry must focus on shooting more movies and dramas in Mauritius as being done by India. “Mauritius is a fantastic place where you can not only do good business but can also explore scenic tourism sites. It’s a mixture of tourism, hospitality, and also the business gateway to Africa,” he said.

Earlier, welcoming the honorary consul of Mauritius, President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo said that although Pakistan and Mauritius have been enjoying decades-old relation, the existing trade volume was not reflecting it. Expressing deep concern over descending trade volume, he informed that during Fiscal Year 2016, Pakistan exported goods worth $28.33 million to Mauritius against exports worth $36.23 million in Fiscal Year 2015, showing a decline of 21.8 percent whereas goods imported by Pakistan stood at $5.19 million in FY16 as against $5.63 million in FY15, showing a decline of 7.8 percent.

“This decline in trade has to be tackled through collective efforts and more interaction between the business communities of the two countries which is the only way forward,” he stressed.

Referring to the last visit of Mauritian president to Pakistan, Dr Ameenah Gurib-Fakim who particularly visited Karachi as well, to meet a high-powered delegation from Karachi Chamber, he said KCCI thanked Mauritian president for inviting them to participate in Pakistan Week scheduled in August 2016 and they were very keen to be part of this event but were unable to do so due to some unforeseen situations.

“However, we are very eager to visit Mauritius to look for opportunities of enhancing trade. Karachi Chamber will send a delegation to visit Mauritius during my tenure as President KCCI,” Firpo announced. He also citing that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) opened up abundant lucrative opportunities not just for the business and industrial community of Pakistan but also for the rest of the world including Mauritian businessmen and industrialists who could surely benefit either by investing or undertaking joint ventures.

“Through effective analysis and utilisation of trade promotion platforms, the bilateral trade can be increased,” he hoped also expecting more interactions between the business communities of the two friendly-countries in the days to come. Senior vice president KCCI Asif Nisar, vice president KCCI Muhammad Younus Soomro, Commercial Head of Honorary Consulate of Mauritius Muhammad Sajjad Azam and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present at the meeting.