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Austria-Pakistan's bilateral trade relations on an upswing

6. June 2011

Despite been mired in several controversies over the last few months, Pakistan has not lost any of its charm for Austria. Convinced by the fact Pakistan is a promising region for Austrian investors; the Central European Country has been working towards bolstering the economic ties between both the countries over the last few months. The Austrian Trade commission taps into Pakistan's potential and reports

Controversies continue to plague Pakistan especially in the aftermath of the capture of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden near Islamabad. However, these controversies have certainly not come in the way of the trade relations between Austria and Pakistan. On the contrary this central European country has been working towards bolstering the bilateral trade relations. For Austria, Pakistan seems to be the perfect terrain for investments and joint venture in the fields of oil and gas exploration and renewable energy.
Last month Austrian Ambassador Axel Wech in a meeting at Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) with the president and other office bearers said that Pakistan-Austrian relationship need to bolster economic ties and that he was making efforts to foster the relationship.

“Immense prospects for investment and joint ventures exist in oil and gas exploration and renewable energy viz. wind, solar and hydro power,” he informed adding that agreement of a pilot project on bio-mass energy was also signed with the Sindh government, whereas, opportunities in tourism sector and agriculture were under consideration.

Expressing concern over the existing level of bilateral trade, the ambassador suggested that frequent exchange of trade delegations and single country exhibitions are imperative to strengthen bilateral trade.

He also invited KCCI to organize a road show or single country exhibition in Austria. He said that Austrian businessmen were interested to initiate joint ventures in Pakistan as the country was a fast emerging economy and the hub of commercial activities due to its strategic importance and availability of skilled labour at low cost.

The ambassador also highlighted new prospects of oil and gas as well as renewable energy sector. Muhammad Saeed Shafiq, President-KCCI, highlighted investment opportunities in the Sindh province. He apprised about opportunities available in the Thar coal, oil and gas and other sectors.

Saeed said that there were good prospects for undertaking joint ventures in Pakistan with the help of Austrian technical know-how and specialized machinery. Austria is advanced in hydro-electricity, steel products, fine textile products, oil and gas exploration. The main areas of cooperation may be hydro-electricity, iron and steel industry, automobiles, glass products, tourism and banking, he added.

Wolfgang Penzias, Austrian Trade Commissioner informed that Pakistan-Austria trade was of greater volume and more vibrant as compared to India. He said that Pakistani companies expressed keen interest to acquire Austrian technology and machinery. Peter Seitinger, Vice President, EP International, OMV Austria stated that OMV Pakistan was expanding its business and the companies recently executed work on two additional oil and gas fields in Sindh while opportunities were also available in Balochistan and KPK province.
Fritz Holzinger, Director Project Development & Sales, Andritz Technologies informed that his company was the largest hydro power technology provider and was engaged in hydal power projects at Warsak, Tarbela and Mangla whereas a new dam project was established at Skardu and some small projects maintained by the private sector.
Majyd Aziz, former President-KCCI voiced to enter in joint ventures in alternate energy via coal, wind, solar and low cost-housing projects.
Over all the bilateral trade relations between both the countries seems to be on an upswing.