Bahrain urges more Pakistan investments
Manama, March 24, 2014
By Avinash Saxena
Bahrain and Pakistan have the opportunity to play a mutually-beneficial economic role, addressing each other's specific needs, said a top minister.
In his address at the first-ever Pakistan-Bahrain Investment Forum held at the Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Hotel and Spa yesterday, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro said Pakistan was on the verge of a new wave of development, which Bahrain, as a close friend and trading partner, can assist with by co-operating in food security to stimulate joint trade and investment, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
"Our mutual trade and investment is growing, and in fact our non-oil trade increased by more than 65 per cent between 2006 and 2011 to reach $157 million in 2011, and the overall trade volume that includes both oil and non-oil trade is up more than 100 per cent at $400 million over the same period," he said.
"Whether it be Islamic banking, manufacturing or commercial services, to name but a few, we have numerous complementarities, which can lead to new joint investment opportunities both in Bahrain and in Pakistan," stated Dr Fakhro.
There are actually more than 400 companies currently operating in Bahrain which are either wholly owned by Pakistani investors or where Pakistani nationals are in joint venture, and these companies, together with those Bahraini companies operating in or trading with Pakistan, could well act as the nucleus for our joint effort to expand mutual relations on all fronts, the minister said.
There are more than 100,000 Pakistani nationals living and working in Bahrain, in all walks of life, and in both public and private sectors.
According to Dr Fakhro, it was not governments that undertook trade; but the people and businesses that make up the economies.
"It is our job as governments to facilitate commercial exchange by ensuring that there are no legal, regulatory or physical impediments and through our political channels, create a dialogue which is conducive to bringing our respective private sectors together," he said.
"Bahrain welcomes all investors, and we pride ourselves on our business friendly environment," he added.
Establishing a business in Bahrain, said Dr Fakhro, could be achieved very quickly, with practically all sectors open to 100 per cent foreign investment.
"We do not believe in requiring national sponsors for foreign businesses; we do not characterise businesses established by non-nationals as being 'foreign' companies. In Bahrain all companies are regarded as Bahraini companies, and are treated as such," he stated.
"Bahrain continues to attract significant investment and business opportunities, not only targeting the domestic market, but the greater Middle East region, using the kingdom's central geographic position, and excellent communications as an operating base," he added.
The minister said the timing of the forum was most appropriate, coming as it did a few days after the historic visit of His Majesty King Hamad to Pakistan, thus providing an opportunity to build on the positive dialogue and results of the visit.
The forum was organised by the Industry and Commerce Ministry and the Pakistan Embassy.-TradeArabia News Service