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Statement by H.E. Mr. Safdar Hayat, Ambassador of Pakistan, Bucharest at the meeting 'Asia-Pacific Initiative-Partnership for the Knowledge Economy

(2017-10-04) Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is indeed a matter of great honor and privilege for me to address this August gathering on a topic which carries great significance for all of us i.e. economic cooperation.

Distinguished delegates,

It is rightly said that the 21st century belongs to Asia. You may also have heard that this Asian century is marked by zones of development and prosperity restricted to only a few countries especially in my region which includes Pakistan. Let me share with you today, in the limited time at my disposal, the economic opportunities Pakistan offers to countries far and wide across the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Pakistan is the fifth largest nation of the world with 24th largest economy and 10th largest labor force in the world and is all set to become one of the eleven largest world economies in the 21st century.

Today, Pakistan is a trillion dollar economy with its GDP growth rate projected at 5.28% for the current financial year. In recent years, Pakistan has made great economic strides in different sectors while maintaining fiscal and monetary discipline. Our International credit ratings are marked as stable and the reputed International rating agencies are predicting the inevitable: Pakistan is destined to become one of the economic powerhouses of the world over the next few decades. As an instance, PricewaterhouseCoopers have placed Pakistan at 20th position among the 32 most powerful economies of the world in 2030.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over less than a decade, Pakistan, with its ever increasing consumer market fueled by its rising middle class; fast developing manufacturing and industrial sector; as well as service industry has emerged as a country that offers renewed opportunities for those who want to explore this land of pure.

Our stock market is performing well. Last year, Pakistan Stock Exchange was declared the best performing market in Asia and fifth best in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The fact that we have achieved all above economic wonders while fighting a treacherous war against terrorism shows the resilience of our economy. We have not only defeated terrorism on our territory but remain committed to peace and stability in the whole region. Present Democratic setup remains steadfast in its vision of peaceful neighborhood and economic development. We invite the world to join us in fulfilling our vision for peace and economic development as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Romania, which is fast emerging as the regional economic and political powerhouse has a lot to gain from the economic opportunities offered by Pakistan. Our Global competitiveness is steadily rising and the ease of doing business in Pakistan is improving with every passing day. The country attracted Foreign Direct Investment worth US $2.4 billion during 2016-17. Much more is being invested in the context of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

EU is Pakistan's major economic partner. Being an active member of EU, I am sure Romania's trade with Pakistan will flourish. Unfortunately, we have not tapped the true potential of our economic cooperation fully as yet. Our current bilateral trade at US $92 million is far below its true potential. There exist a lot of complementarities in our economies which extent not only to commerce and trade but include sectors like Education, IT, Tourism, Services, Science & Technology and even Defence.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In the end, I would like to conclude by referring to an adage that states "taste of pudding lies in eating". Please do not go by media stereotyping. The reality of Pakistan is much better than its perception. I invite Romanian business community to take advantage of the economic miracle happening in Pakistan. In doing business with Pakistan, all are set to gain and there is nothing to lose.

I thank you all.