Bahrain forges new trade links with Pakistan
Islamabad, March 19, 2014
Major trade, energy and economic deals were agreed last night between Bahrain and Pakistan.
These followed high-level talks on the first day of His Majesty King Hamad's historic three-day state visit to Pakistan at the invitation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Earlier, His Majesty was given a royal welcome at Nur Khan Airbase by the Pakistani Premier, ministers, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and officials of the Bahraini Embassy.
The King reviewed a guard of honour after he was presented with a 21-gun salute.
National anthems of both the countries were also played at the welcome ceremony.
Separately, His Majesty and Sharif discussed outstanding bilateral relations and ways to strengthen them in the political, economic, defence, scientific and cultural fields.
The two leaders reviewed the latest regional and international developments and both countries' stances on them.
A broader discussion was also held in the presence of both countries' delegations.
His Majesty thanked Sharif for the invitation to visit Pakistan as well as the warm welcome and hospitality.
He underlined Bahrain's keenness to further develop relations with Pakistan, stressing the need for both countries to continue assuming their roles in promoting understanding and co-operation.
He valued the honourable stances of Pakistan towards Bahrain, commending its pivotal role in serving Islamic issues, fostering relations between Islamic countries and bolstering global peace and stability.
His Majesty praised the efforts of the Pakistani community in Bahrain and its remarkable contribution to the kingdom's comprehensive development.
The Pakistani Premier thanked the King for his key role in further cementing historic ties binding the two countries. He lauded the King's wisdom and statesmanship which enabled Bahrain to achieve its development goals. His Majesty later attended a dinner banquet held in his honour by Sharif..
His Majesty King Hamad and Pakistani Premier attended the signing of six agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoU).
They are as follows:
1. An MoU on setting up a joint ministerial committee to promote bilateral co-operation was signed by Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa and Pakistani Minister of Finance and Revenue Mohammed Ishaq Dar.
2. An MoU to boost bilateral co-operation in security and anti-terrorism was signed by Interior Minister Lieutenant General Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa and his Pakistani counterpart Nisar Ali Khan.
3. An MoU to bolster bilateral co-operation in the energy and water field, including renewable and alternative energy sources was signed by Minister of State for Electricity and Water Affairs Dr Abdulhussain Mirza and Pakistani Minister of Water and Power Khawaja Mohammed Asif.
4. An MoU to enhance co-operation in food security was signed by Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Fakhro and Pakistani Minister of National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan.
5. An agreement to boost bilateral co-operation in the investment field was signed by Shaikh Khalid and the Pakistani Minister of Finance and Revenue.
6. An agreement to boost co-operation between both countries in the field of air services and trade was signed by Transportation Minister Kamal Ahmed and Pakistani Minister of Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhary.
Meanwhile, Sharif urged leading Bahraini businessmen accompanying His Majesty to invest in Pakistan as it provides a better investment environment.
He said Bahraini investors should take this opportunity for best returns.
"We would welcome Bahraini investments in mega projects in the field of energy, downstream oil industry, port development, mining and minerals, infrastructure, banking and financial sectors," Sharif said.
He stressed the need for regular joint commission meetings as it provided a good platform to review bilateral economic and trade co-operation.
"We would deeply appreciate Bahraini support for the early finalisation of the GCC-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement," he said.
Premier Sharif urged the need to enhance bilateral trade and called for Bahrain to strengthen its imports from Pakistan.
He also outlined the key sectors and goods.
"We would like Bahrain to increase its imports from Pakistan of high-quality Basmati rice, Halal meat products, poultry, textiles and clothing, sports goods, surgical instruments, carpets, marble and cutlery.
"Co-operation in agriculture and food sectors would also be mutually beneficial."
Sharif also paid tribute to Bahrain's Pakistani community and called them a "bridge" between the two countries that had a positive role in Bahrain's development and contributed to Pakistan's economy as well.
His Majesty will hold talks with Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain and a number of senior officials.
Meanwhile, a Pakistani foreign office statement said that the visit would provide a good opportunity to explore ways to strengthen co-operation between the two countries in diverse areas of interest.
The two sides are expected to discuss ways to increase export of Pakistani manpower to Bahrain.
It is also the first official visit of His Majesty to Pakistan in four decades. - TradeArabia News Service