KARACHI: Ambassador of Bosnia & Herzegovina Sakib Foric has advised the business and industrial community of Karachi to explore the investment opportunities in Bosnia & Herzegovina where they can enjoy many benefits including cheaper fuel and electricity along with tax free regime and other facilities being offered through the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA) which facilitates and supports foreign direct investment in Bosnia.

Exchanging views with President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, Senior Vice President KCCI Abdul Basit Abdul Razzak and KCCI Managing Committee Members during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Bosnian Ambassador added that FIPA offers practical assistance in dealing with government institutions by working directly with investors and it also assist investors to develop contacts with the public and private sector.

Bosnian Ambassador informed that FIPA carries out extensive research to ensure that investors are fully aware of the opportunities available in different sectors of the Bosnian economy. “Moreover, FIPA works alongside the embassies and diplomatic missions of Bosnia & Herzegovina that can also help explore investment opportunities in Bosnia & Herzegovina. We need investors and business from your country. You must visit Bosnia & Herzegovina to see this business and tourist friendly Muslim country which is very close to European Union”, he added.

Luring the business and industrial community, he said that 70 percent of Bosnian & Herzegovinian border touches European Union hence, it can be used as a logistics base by Pakistani investors which can be used as a road to EU.

He opined that Bosnia & Herzegovina and Pakistan maintain good relations since many years and it was really heartening to see that Pakistan has continued to extend full support and cooperation to Bosnia particularly during difficult times. “Pakistan and Bosnia, being two brotherly countries, have special feelings for each other. We not only need to have more exchanges of business delegations but students, cultural, sports and other exchanges must also be encouraged in order to further improve the relations between the two brotherly countries”, he added.

To a query, he said that Bosnia has been producing surplus Hydroelectricity and also using coal for electricity production which is being exported. “Keeping in view the immense knowledge and expertise available in Bosnia, we can certainly assist Pakistan in establishing Hydro Power Plants”, he added.

In response to another question, he said that any Pakistani individual or businessman having a valid US, UK or Schengen Visa can easily enter Bosnia & Herzegovina without acquiring Bosnian visa whereas business and tourist visas are only issued to those applicants who are invited by someone in Bosnia and the businessmen intending to make investments in Bosnia are granted Multiple Visas.

Bosnian Ambassador also invited Karachi Chamber to participate in Sarajevo Business Forum 2018 which is scheduled to be organized on 25th and 26th April 2018 which would provide a perfect platform to not only review investment opportunities but also enhance trade ties with counterparts in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Earlier, President KCCI Muffasar Atta Malik, in his remarks, underscored the need for a more liberal visa policy by the Bosnian government particularly for Pakistani business and industrial community which would certainly help in effectively dealing with the meagre trade volume between the two countries. He said that Karachi, which is the financial and economic hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to Bosnian Investors. The improved law and order situation across the country has resulted in attracting many potential investors from around the world. Karachi city, which contributes more than 65 percent revenue to the national exchequer, is an attractive place for Bosnian investors, who can surely earn maximum profits by setting up their businesses and undertaking joint ventures in this city.

Commenting on bilateral trade, President KCCI noted that the bilateral trade between Pakistan & Herzegovina has not been very extensive and currently based on very limited trade volume. During Fiscal Year 2017, Pakistan exported goods worth $0.36 million and its imports stood at $2.6 million. “I believe there is a dire need for enhancing bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and Bosnia as the current level of trade is too low. In this regard, frequent exchanges of trade delegations and people-to-people exchanges have to take place whereas the linkages between KCCI and its peer chamber in Bosnia must also be enhanced which will prove favourable for both the brotherly countries. He also requested Bosnian Ambassador to help KCCI in effectively promoting its My Karachi Exhibition amongst the Bosnian Business and Industrial Community. The Bosnian companies should participate in 15th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony exhibition scheduled to be organized at Karachi Expo Center from 20thApril to 22nd April 2018. This three-day long event is regularly being organized since 2004 which is attended by around 1 million visitors every year. My Karachi will provide an excellent opportunity to Bosnian businessmen and industrialists to showcase their products and create strong linkages with the business community of Karachi by holding B2B meetings in a cordial atmosphere, he added.