S’pore will strive to boost trade with Pakistan : PM

SINGAPORE will work to increase its trade with Pakistan and could attempt at playing a catalytic role to attract foreign investments into that country, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said yesterday.

In a speech at a dinner hosted for Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at the Istana and during discussions with her earlier, he welcomed the economic reforms launched by her and said steps will be taken to boost bilateral economic ties.

The Trade Development Board will organise a business mission to Pakistan later this year. Also planned was a seminar on business opportunities in Pakistan.

Said Mr Goh: “Such increased contacts enable our two peoples and private sectors to know each other better, leading to a better appreciation of the economic opportunities available to one another.”

To encourage foreign investments in Pakistan, he told Ms Bhutto during their talks that Singapore could try to play the role of a catalyst if the opportunities were attractive to private investors, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said in response to press queries.

The 41-year-old Pakistani leader, who arrived here on Tuesday for a three-day official visit, highlighted the investment opportunities in Pakistan during her talks with Mr Goh and presented several major infrastructural projects which could be of interest to Singapore, the spokesman said. She also offered to step up bilateral cooperation in other fields, including defence cooperation.

Mr Goh noted in his speech the need to make known the attractions that the Pakistani economy held to investors.

“Foreign investors can now benefit from new incentives such as 100 per cent equity ownership in business ventures, with no restrictions on repatriation of principal, interest, dividends or profits,” he said.

But he added that these new benefits were not widely known in Singapore. He suggested that Pakistan’s Board of Investment publicise them to the private sector here. “Once aware of these new opportunities, the Singapore businessmen are likely to seize them,” he said.

In her speech at the dinner, Ms Bhutto stressed that Singapore could be a source of investments for Pakistan’s development and modernisation.

“The vigour and vitality of our relationship needs to be sustained and carried forward by developing mutually beneficial economic collaboration, through investment and technology transfer,” she said.

At a speech to the Singapore Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the day, she urged businessmen here to invest in Pakistan.

Earlier, after a ceremonial welcome at the Istana, the two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of an Investment Guarantee Agreement to promote bilateral business and economic cooperation.

Ms Bhutto called on President Ong Teng Cheong in the morning. Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew and Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called on her separately in the afternoon.

According to the MFA spokesman, Mr Goh accepted an invitation to visit Pakistan at a mutually convenient date.

Ms Bhutto, who is accompanied by a 26-member delegation, will deliver a keynote address to 150 businessmen at the Fortune Global Forum today.

Select the fields to be shown. Others will be hidden. Drag and drop to rearrange the order.
  • Image
  • SKU
  • Rating
  • Price
  • Stock
  • Availability
  • Add to cart
  • Description
  • Content
  • Weight
  • Dimensions
  • Additional information
  • Attributes
  • Custom attributes
  • Custom fields
Click outside to hide the comparison bar