KARACHI: Chairman Pakistan-South Africa Business Forum (PSABF) Mohammad Rafiq Memon has said that Pakistan’s cement exports to South Africa have suffered terribly during the last couple of years because of the anti-dumping duty imposed by the South African government that resulted in shrinking cement export to around US$100 to US$150 million which was around US$700 million prior to imposition of anti-dumping duty.
“We are trying our best to get this issues resolved but Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce also has to send a delegation to South Africa in order to convince the authorities to review and waive this anti-dumping duty on cement”, he stressed while speaking at a meeting during the visit of South African delegation to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Wednesday.
Chairman PSABF was fairly optimistic that the South African government would review the anti-dumping duty on cement imports and the situation was likely to improve by 2020, provided the Ministry of Commerce takes up this issue with relevant authority in South Africa.
President PSABF (Pakistan Region) Ghulam Muhammad, Senior Vice President KCCI Khurram Shahzad, Vice President KCCI Asif Sheikh Javaid, Members of South African delegation and KCCI’s Managing Committee were also present at the meeting.
While requesting KCCI to participate in the forthcoming events being organized by PSABF in South Africa, he informed that PSABF plans to organize a 4-day seminar in the month of July 2019 which will be followed by a single country exhibition in October 2019 to highlight Pakistan’s trade potential.
“Both these events in South Africa will provide a perfect opportunity to industrialists and traders from KCCI to introduce their products and services in South Africa which is a gateway to the entire African region”, he added.
He said that PSABF also plans to establish a trade center in South Africa by December 2019 where Pakistani manufacturers and exporters will be able to display samples of their products and services along with relevant contact information, which would results in effectively promoting Pakistani products not only in the South African market but also other African states.
“As Pakistan’s trade and diplomatic relations have not been so well with South Africa, therefore we are striving really hard to improve ties between the two countries”, he said, adding that potential exists to enhance trade and investment ties in tourism, textile, agriculture, pharmaceutical, mining and construction sectors. “Many South African investors are also interested in Pakistan’s hospitality, tourism and aviation sectors. They also want to establish mini zoos, Safari Parks and resorts in Karachi and Gilgit-Baltistan”, he added.
He mentioned that PSABF, which was formed in 2014, has enhanced its activities and the forum has been regularly holding negotiations with South African government and other stakeholders with a view to enhance trade and investment ties between the two countries.
During the past four years, PSABF has received and facilitated 27 delegations from Pakistan and they look forward to receiving a delegation from Karachi Chamber in near future.
“PSABF is not just confined to South Africa only but we have expanded our activities to nine more countries in the African region”, he added.
Senior Vice President KCCI Khurram Shahzad, while welcoming the South African delegates, assured to take up the anti-dumping issue being faced by Pakistani cement exporters with Ministry of Commerce so that the government could hold negotiations with relevant authorities in South Africa.
He pointed out that the economic relations between Pakistan and South Africa have remained cordial and it was really heartening to see that eight MoUs were signed during Pakistan-South Africa Joint Commission meeting in 2013 to increase trade value between countries to $1 billion which was finally achieved in 2017.
He said, “Pakistan and South Africa share moderate bilateral trade relations as we exported goods worth $178.15 million in 2018 to South Africa while our imports stood at $1.24 billion.”
Khurram Shahzad was of the opinion that there was a huge potential to enhance bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and South Africa. In this regard, Pakistan can increase its leather footwear exports to South Africa at competitive prices.
“CPEC depicts a great opportunity for Pakistan to further enhance its trade volume to South Africa”, he said, adding that Pakistan can also export meat products to South Africa market, as the country relies significantly on imported meat from Brazil and European countries.
He further stressed that both countries can enhance their mutual cooperation and knowledge transfer in the mining sector. For this purpose, Balochistan province offers a wonderful opportunity for both Pakistani and South-African companies to take different joint ventures.
He emphasized that the Karachi Chamber wants to promote business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and South Africa. “We want to promote and do everything for the development of Pakistan–South Africa business cooperation”, he added.