Pakistan to benefit from MBS vision 2030: Petroleum Minister

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that the Pak-Saudi ties need no introduction. Both countries enjoy decades old fraternal ties that have reciprocated each other’s desired expectations. We continue to have an enduring cooperation in almost all domains of economy including manpower development, construction, expertise training, health, military exercises, food & agriculture etc.

In an exclusive Interview with “The Fortress” Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Ghulam Sarwar Khan said that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is visiting Pakistan at this very important juncture of our bilateral relations and it can truly be said that this visit of HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman will add a fresh momentum to the decades old bilateral ties cordially enjoyed between the two countries.

Pakistan is eagerly looking forward to the signing of the MoU between Islamabad and Riyadh for the construction of an oil refinery in Gwadar region. This project is potentially a very big plan mutually beneficial for both the countries. Situated at a strategic location, it provides easy and cheaper access to Saudi petro-chemical products into Far East and Central Asia. While for Pakistan it brings in investment and employment opportunities.

The significance of this giant project augments the trust and confidence of the Saudi leadership in Pakistan’s Geo-strategic position, keeping in view that CPEC has all the futuristic potentials to transform the region into a dynamic economic game changer. There are lots of aspirations attached with the Saudi investment in the region and this Saudi step is one in many such future economic ties that Pakistan wishes to partner with our brothers in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf in general.

What is more prospective of the Saudi investment in Gwadar is that it has all the facets of ambitions envisioned in Saudi Vision 2030 which aspires to diversify Saudi exports. Saudi Arabia has decades of expertise in oil, energy and the vital petro-chemical industrial sector which can benefit Pakistan and the whole region. He said eight MOUs are expected to be signed in diverse areas and fields particularly in the Oil Exploration and Petrochemical sectors. This aspect of economic engagement would further deepen strategic relations between these two brotherly countries.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoys a strong bond of friendship. Saudi Arabia has always extended economic cooperation to Pakistan during difficult times in our country’s history. The recent Saudi Package of Financial Support & Investment announcement in the fields of Oil, Energy and Mining coupled with Visits at the highest level are going to further strengthen our bilateral trade and investment relations.

In terms of Trade in Merchandize, Pakistan mainly imports oil and oil products from Saudi Arabia, which accounts for 90 percent of our total import bill for the Kingdom. In turn, Pakistan supplies rice, meat, meat products, spices and fruit, home textile products, chemicals, footwear and leather goods. The total value of the merchandise being traded between the two countries is around $2.5 billion. Pakistan’s exports to Saudi Arabia are worth about $0.5 billion whereas the rest comprises the value of items imported by Pakistan.

After a short period of decline in bilateral trade in last 3 years, it is expected that it is going to stabilize in the year 2019. Recent visit of 36 Member Trade Delegation invited by SEDA followed by Rice Exporters Delegation visit to KSA in March 2019 and Participation of Saudi Textile Cos in TEXPO Pakistan Apr 2019 is going to improve bilateral trade.

Bilateral Investments are also going to increase as a result of frequent exchange of Delegations, in both public and private sectors. Pakistan is expected to have Investments in Oil, Energy and Minerals sectors while Saudi Arabia is expecting Investments in the areas of Manufacturing, Financial and IT Sectors.

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