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Saudi, Pakistani investors discuss ways to boost economic cooperation

Saudi, Pakistani investors discuss ways to boost economic cooperation

- High-level Saudi delegation led by deputy investment minister meets with Pakistani ministers, businessmen in Islamabad

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – The visiting Saudi Arabian investors held a series of meetings with Pakistani government officials, and businessmen in the capital Islamabad on Monday to deliberate on ways to boost economic and trade ties between the two countries, officials and state media reported.

A high-level Saudi delegation, led by the Kingdom’s Deputy Investment Minister Ibrahim Almubarak, which arrived in Islamabad on a two-day visit, also participated in a two-day Pakistan-Saudi Arabia Investment Conference, which aims to court foreign investors to boost its exports in collaboration with Saudi companies.

The much-awaited visit - the second in less than three weeks - comes amid a $5 billion investment package promised by Riyadh to prop up Islamabad's faltering economy.

Addressing the two-day investment conference, Almubarak said that Riyadh believes in Pakistan’s economic potential, including its demography, location and natural resources.

Expressing his confidence that the public and private sectors of both countries can take their partnership to the next level, he said that Riyadh wants to see Islamabad as one of its “leading international partners,” state-run Pakistan Television reported.

At a joint press conference, Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Musadiq Malik and Commerce Minister Jam Kamal Khan said the two governments and the businessmen have reached a consensus to collaborate in different sectors.

Both sides, they added, have enthusiastically discussed joint ventures and collaboration in diverse sectors, with Saudi Arabia having “evinced interest and trust in the economy of Pakistan.”

“We do not want aid. Instead, we are looking for business (with Saudi Arabia). That’s why, businessmen are the key part of this delegation," said Malik, also the focal person for Saudi-Pak bilateral collaboration.

“The two governments will facilitate the business ventures between the two sides,” he went on to say.

In April, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan visited Islamabad, days before Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s two-day trip to the kingdom to attend a World Economic Forum meeting where he also met top Saudi officials.

Farhan had told a news conference in Islamabad that Riyadh would be "moving ahead significantly" to invest in projects in Pakistan.

Last month, Islamabad announced that the oil-rich kingdom had pledged to expedite $5 billion in investment.


- Another IMF program

Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, in his remarks at the investment conference, said that Saudi investors’ visit is part of Pakistan’s bid to attract foreign investment, which is necessary for the country’s “macroeconomic stability.”

He said that Islamabad is seeking a “larger and longer program” with the IMF for permanence in the macroeconomic stability and structural reforms.

The IMF mission is expected in Pakistan in the “next seven to ten days” to discuss the contours of the new plan, he confirmed.

Pakistan, last week, received $1.1 billion, the last tranche of a $3 billion IMF bailout packag

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