Turkish firms eye more investment in Pakistan

KARACHI: Around 15,000 member companies of Anatolian Tigers Businessmen Association (ASKON) are ready to support Pakistani companies and institutions, a statement said on Saturday.

“Turkish businessmen are eager to share their experience, knowledge and capital with their Pakistani brothers,” said Mustafa Koca, chairman, ASKON, addressing the “Pakistan-Turkey Business Opportunities Conference” as the chief guest.

The event was organised by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (RCCI) in collaboration with All Industrialists & Businessmen Association of Turkey (TUMSIAD) in Istanbul.

The conference was attended by over 700 businessmen from Pakistan and representatives of over 150 Turkish companies.

In his keynote address, Raja Amir Iqbal, president RCCI, urged the Turkish counterparts to take advantage of the favorable investment and business environment in Pakistan.

“Pakistan has over 185 billion tons of coal reserves which were equivalent to 618 billion barrels of crude oil reserves in terms of energy output, while the country has 31.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves,” said Iqbal.

He urged the businessmen of both countries to play their role to enhance bilateral trade, which was about $610 million in 2016.

Iqbal also briefed the Turkish businessmen about the multi billion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project which will transform the entire region into a hub of economic activities.

Speaking on the occasion, Mustafa Riza Arsan, vice president Turkey-Pakistan Business Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), shared his experience about doing business and making investments in Pakistan.

“We found Pakistan as the most business friendly
a country where investments are safe and offer high return in the entire region,” said Arsan.

Syed Ali Asad Gilani, Charge d’ Affairs of Pakistan, in his remarks, highlighted the multifaceted relationship between Pakistan and Turkey is flourishing in diverse fields.

“The growing Turkish involvement in socio-economic development of Pakistan is a clear manifestation of the desire of the leadership on both sides to transform this strong political and cultural relationship into a robust economic partnership,” said Gilani.

The conference was followed by Business-to-Business (B2B) session.

Turkish and Pakistani companies explored
opportunities for joint ventures and trade in various sectors including construction, textile, services, energy, tourism, etc.

A number of orders were placed while the B2B forum proved a useful platform for establishing joint ventures and business collaboration in diverse sectors.

Meanwhile, successful Pakistani companies and entrepreneurs were honored in the 30th RCCI International Achievement Awards ceremony, held on the sidelines of the conference.

Fatih Metin, Deputy Minister for Economy of Turkey, graced the ceremony as the chief guest. Awards were presented to successful Pakistani companies and entrepreneurs for their outstanding performance.

“On the instructions of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey is negotiating a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Pakistan. Our target is to enhance bilateral trade to $5 billion in a short term,” said Metin, while addressing guests.

Chinese bank raising $15bn for OBOR

HONG KONG: China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) is raising at least 100 billion yuan ($15bn) for a fund to finance investments related to Beijing’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The people said China’s second-biggest bank by assets was raising cash onshore and offshore and has already been running roadshows with prospective investors. They could not be identified as they are not authorized to speak to the media.

CCB did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping in May pledged a $124bn funding boost to help his plan to build a modern Silk Road, connecting China with new and old trading partners.

He also said China would encourage financial institutions to expand their overseas yuan fund businesses.

Beijing is trying to contain overseas deals after some extravagant purchases in recent years, but acquisitions by Chinese companies in countries that are part of the Belt and Road initiative are soaring, totaling $33bn as of mid-August. That compares with a $31bn tally for all of 2016, showed Reuters data.

The people said CCB would raise US dollars for the offshore portion of the fund and yuan from onshore investors. Some of the onshore capital could be used for Belt and Road deals overseas, two of the people said.