ISLAMABAD - The 11th session of Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) began here Tuesday with renewed pledge to boost bilateral economic, investment and trade cooperation between the two countries to tap the existing potential in diverse fields of economy.
The two-day moot is being participated by high-level officials of various ministries of both the countries, with an aim to draw a future roadmap to cooperate with each other for economic development.
Speaking at the outset of the JMC session, Special Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Aitzaz Ahmad said that this platform provided an opportunity to both the countries to promote their trade and economic cooperation.
He said that Pakistan offered tremendous opportunities in various sectors of economy, particularly in tourism which could be exploited for better developmental financial prospects.
He expressed the hope that the session would draw a roadmap for future cooperation between the two countries and provide a ‘way-forward’ agenda to promote trade and investment.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary for Foreign Trade Saudi Arabia, Abdul Rehman bin Ahmad Al-Harbi highlighted the importance of cooperation in various fields of trade and investment.
He said that Saudi Arabia provided great investment opportunities, particularly in infrastructure field. He was of the view that the sessions like JMC should conclude with a tangible outcome to make this bilateral cooperation fruitful for both the countries.
During the two-day session, both the sides aim to take some major decisions and resolve issues that had been becoming obstacles in promoting economic and trade relations. During the session, both the sides agreed to simplify the procedure of business visa issuance in both the countries besides rationalizing the visa fee on reciprocal basis.
They also agreed on activation of Saudi-Pak Business Council to promote trade and investment on fast-track basis while Pak-Saudi bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) also came under consideration.
The two sides agreed to introduce both the countries’ products through exhibitions in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia besides agreeing to identify and remove the obstacle that hinder smooth flow of products of both the countries.
The two sides also discussed establishment of Joint Working Group on Trade, Investment and Customs besides discussing mutual recognition agreement on Sanitary Phytosanitary (SPS) and Quarantine Standards.
The JMC session is scheduled to consider enhancement of quota for Pakistani workers in ongoing projects in Saudia Arabia and Saudi specific training centers in Pakistan for training of manpower according to Saudi requirements.
An MoU on organization of Pakistani Manpower Employment and Agreement on Domestic Workers Recruitment would also be discussed during the meeting.
In addition, the JMC is also scheduled to discuss mechanism for early release of Pakistani prisoners on completion of their term of imprisonment and payment of pending wages of Pakistani workers.
On investment side, both the sides are scheduled to discuss collaboration of Saudi oil companies with Pakistani companies for exploration and production of oil and gas in Pakistan in addition to establishing oil refinery in Pakistan with collaboration of Saudi companies.
Possibility of enhancing import of petroleum from Kingdom and offering investment for Saudi companies in Renewable Energy and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) is also part of agenda.
In education sector, both the sides would discuss establishment of linkages between Pakistani and Saudi universities in the form of student exchange, joint conferences.
MoUs on Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, Vocational and Technical Trainings would also be discussed while discussion on MoU between the central banks of both the countries is also on cards.
The moot would also discuss finalization of dates for holding first round of Bilateral Political Consultations besides proposing reciprocal visits of Parliamentary Friendship Group of respective parliaments.
In addition, cooperation in agriculture and livestock, religious and cultural cooperation, combating terrorism and narcotics control would also be discussed during the two-day moot.
Discussion to improve developmental initiatives, cooperation in aviation security and exchange of visits of media officials from both the sides is also part of the agenda.