Pakistan ‘genuinely and seriously’ wants to boost trade ties with Turkey: PM Shehbaz

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ANKARA: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said Pakistan “genuinely and seriously” wanted to boost bilateral, trade and cultural ties with Turkey as he made the case for the Turkish business community to invest in Pakistan.

“Suffice to say, we are here to convey this message to our Turkish brothers and sisters, President Tayyip Erdogan and his team, and to the Turkish business community that we genuinely and seriously want to work with you,” PM Shehbaz said while speaking at the Turkey-Pakistan Business Council in Ankara. The premier is currently on a three-day official visit to Turkey. He is accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for Investment Board Chaudhry Salik Hussain and special assistants to the prime minister Tariq Fatemi and Fahd Husain.

He stated that it was important to transform the brotherly relations between the two countries by promoting trade, investment and cultural relations. He went on to say that even though the countries don’t speak the same language, the nations hail from the same culture and have a shared history.

“We have been partners and have supported each other through thick and thin,” he said, adding that he had received “hundreds of businessmen” between 2008 and 2018.

“Your active participation in investments in Pakistan is highly appreciated. And above all your participation in humanitarian projects in Pakistan is very well-known.”

He added: “Today, we are here to seriously engage ourselves with you because you are very serious-minded business people, and your achievements are outstanding and a shining example for all of us.”

He called for the two countries to collaborate and cooperate in various sectors, including the automobile industry, agriculture, textile and alternative energy.

“I am here today with my great team to convey this message to you in no uncertain terms, absolutely loud and clear, that we will welcome you with both arms to come and invest in Pakistan, promote trade,” he said.

The premier said that Pakistan’s populace is primarily very young, pointing toward the “mass opportunities that remained undiscovered”.

“I have requested the trade minister, before we conclude this meeting, we must sign a letter of intent that through our untiring efforts we shall achieve bilateral trade of $5 billion in two years to come. [It is] difficult but not impossible,” he declared.