PM Abbasi welcomes Volkswagen’s entry in Pakistan

KARACHI: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has welcomed on Wednesday Volkswagen’s decision to invest and undertake business ventures in Pakistan, assuring the world’s largest automaker of complete facilitation and support from the government.

Talking to Volkswagen Board of Management member Joseph Baumert, who met him at the PM Office, Abbasi highlighted strengths of Pakistan’s economy and credited investor-friendly policies for an “economic turnaround” in the last four years.

Abbasi said that both local and foreign investors had huge incentives to invest and reap benefits from a fast-growing economy as a result of the improved security situation.

The auto sector development also comes as a huge relief for a hungry Pakistani market long dominated by three Japanese players who face continuous capacity constraints. With the government recently imposing further regulatory duty on the import of new and used vehicles, the stage seems set for new entrants.

In the past year, Lucky has announced a joint venture with Kia Motors, while Hyundai Motor Company also plans to set up a car assembly plant with textile group Nishat Mills.

Meanwhile, Abbasi said that due to improved and enhanced road networks as a result of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and greater spending on communication infrastructure, Pakistan offers great opportunities to international automobile companies to fill in the existing demand-supply gap through local production.

The premier also highlighted various features of the Auto Policy 2016-2021 which offers tax and other incentives to new entrants to enable introduction of new brands, develop market share, create distribution and after-sales service networks besides a parts-manufacturing base.

Abbasi expressed hope that Volkswagen would provide quality vehicles of international standards.

Baumert also expressed hope for a successful business venture in Pakistan. Other officials including Volkswagen’s head of overseas production Andreas Sprindler, head of Asia Pacific, Oliver Glaser, International Policy Foreign and Governmental Relations Klaus – Bo Steindorff and head of CKD Yuri Konushin, Premier Systems CEO Syed Arshad and Board of Investment secretary were present.