Pakistan’s image as a regional hub for foreign investment received a boost recently when the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) in its survey of Japanese companies operating in Asia, rated the country among the top destinations for Japanese investors.
According to APP, JETRO President Yasushi Akahoshi revealed this information to Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Naeem Y Zamindar during a meeting the two recently held in Tokyo.
The outcome of the survey by JETRO follows similar results revealed in another recent survey held by the Overseas Investment Chambers of Commerce and Industry (OICCI), in which 75% of foreign investors polled expressed high confidence in Pakistan’s investment scenario and foresaw their businesses registering continuous growth in the country.
During the meeting in Tokyo, besides explaining the various ways JETRO is promoting trade and investment cooperation between Japan and Pakistan, Akahoshi also presented the results of the JETRO survey to the BOI chairman. The survey results highlight the great confidence that Japanese investors have in Pakistan’s economic prospects as well as in the quality of the local labour force. Japanese companies consider Pakistan among the top-rated countries in Asia in terms of expected profits in 2018, plans for expansion of operations and hiring of local labour force.
A detailed look at the survey results shows that in terms of country/region, Pakistan had the highest proportion of Japanese firms, at around 81.3%, which stated that they planned on further expanding their operations in the country. This indicated an increase of 10.3% from the previous year’s JETRO survey. In addition, the proportion of Japanese companies expecting an operating profit this year in the country exceeded 70%. The JETRO survey also revealed that over 70% of Japanese companies in Pakistan increased the number of local employees they recruited over the previous year.
APP further reports that the BOI chairman also met Japan’s Senior Deputy Foreign Minister Kazuyuki Yamazaki and informed him of Pakistan’s economic priorities including the country’s aim to achieve a 9% economic growth rate by 2020. He also emphasised the recent Price Waterhouse Coopers projection of Pakistan joining the group of G-20 countries by 2030.
Yamazaki, meanwhile echoed the results of the JETRO survey, by complimenting Pakistan’s relatively low labour costs in the region as well as its thriving and vast pool of young, energetic people, which made the country an attractive environment for Japanese investors.
During the meeting the two officials also discussed various avenues of mutual economic cooperation between Japan and Pakistan, and it was agreed that the forthcoming High Level Economic Policy Dialogue would be used as a platform to continue the conversation on how best to realise the true potential of Pakistan-Japan trading relations.
The BOI chairman also held potentially lucrative meetings with the senior managements of Mitsui Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation where the possibility of developing new project investments in Pakistan was discussed. If these investments come to fruition, they could prove to be highly beneficial for Pakistan’s economy besides further boosting foreign investment in the country.