ISLAMABAD: A delegation of British businessmen and investors arrived here on Sunday for a week-long visit to explore investment opportunities in various sectors, especially mining. Sir Thomas Harris, Vice Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank and Chairman of Pakistan-Britain Trade and Investment Forum (PBTIF) is leading the delegation that comprises British investors representing mining, financial and other sectors.The delegation will be exploring investment opportunities in various sectors, however, the main focus will be on mining, oil and gas, infrastructure and financial sectors.The delegation members will hold meetings with government functionaries, businessmen and other stakeholders during their stay and visit Karachi, Quetta and Lahore.British Deputy High Commissioner Dr Peter Tibber who hosted a reception in hounour of the visiting delegation, told APP that efforts were being made to increase bilateral trade between Pakistan and the United Kingdom (UK) to pounds 2.5 by 2013.He said there was great potential for foreign investment in Pakistan and the visit of present delegation would helpful in getting more investment in different sectors.“The UK is the second largest foreign investor in Pakistan,” said the Deputy High Commissioner and added that the over all bilateral trade both in business and financial sector was more than pounds 1.5 billion and there was vast scope for taking it to pounds 2.5 billion by 2013.
Replying to a question, he said there were more than 100 British companies doing business successfully. He said although there was concern due to security situation, but it was not affecting the business of British companies in Pakistan and arrival of investors’ delegation today was another step of reposing confidence in investment opportunities here.Commenting on the difficulties for doing business in Pakistan due to security and loadshedding, the British Deputy High Commissioner said, “Pakistan is still a better place to do business for the British business community, therefore they are here to explore more opportunities.”He said although there was concern about Karachi situation but being an economic hub, Karachi was still a key to economic growth in Pakistan.Leader of the delegation Sir Thomas Harris, while talking to APP said that there was great potential for foreign investment in Pakistan due to investment friendly policies and rich mineral resources present in different parts of the country.
“Pakistan has valuable mineral resources and British investors are keen to invest in this sector,” he added.He said some members of the delegation had been doing business in Pakistan in different sectors while some of them were new and interested to invest in mineral and financial sectors.Thomas Harris said the members of the delegation would especially meet the chief ministers of Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab to explore opportunities for investment in mineral sectors in their respective areas.He said that special concentration would be on exploration of coal, iron and other minerals that were still unexplored in different parts of the country. – APP