21st February 2020 ISLAMABAD – Mudasser Chudhary: In pursuit to position the Islamic Republic of Pakistan a key member of Commonwealth with the potential to assist in creating a powerful platform for meaningful engagement between businesses and Government decision-makers across the Commonwealth through CWEIC, the Rt Hon. Sir Hugo Swire KCMG, Deputy Chairman of Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council UK (CWEIC) and former British Parliamentarian visited Pakistan on 20th and 21st February 2020 on a personal invitation extended by the Chief Executive of Bestway Group and the Chairman of Conservative Friends of Pakistan (CFOP), Lord Zameer M. Choudrey CBE SI Pk.
During his stay in Islamabad, Sir Hugo Swire met with the Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan. He was accompanied by Sir M. Anwar Pervez and Lord Zameer M. Choudrey. Prime Minister’s advisor on Commerce, Mr. Abdul Razzaq Dawood and the Chairman Board of Investment Syed Zubair Haider Gilani were also present on the occasion.
Sir Hugo Swire apprised the Prime Minister about the activities and significance of CWEIC and how it could play an important role in promoting trade and investment between Pakistan and the Commonwealth countries, in particular the United Kingdom in post-Brexit scenario where various new opportunities should arise for Pakistan.
The Deputy Chairman CWEIC also invited the Prime Minister, Mr. Imran Khan to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and the Commonwealth Business Forum 2020 which is going to be held in Kigali, Rwanda (23 – 25 June) this year.
Sir Hugo Swire also held separate meetings with Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood and Mr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Finance to discuss how Pakistan could take advantage of its Commonwealth links. The Government of Pakistan expressed its commitment and enthusiasm for future engagement with the Commonwealth, and showed keen interest to join CWEIC as a member and play a leading role at the upcoming Commonwealth Business Forum.
Lord Zameer M. Choudrey also hosted a private dinner in honour of the Deputy Chairman CWEIC which was attended by business leaders from across the country and key government ministers. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Choudrey thanked Sir Hugo Swire for taking time out to visit Pakistan. Mr. Choudrey underscored the importance of Pakistan’s relationship with the United Kingdom and reiterated his commitment towards further strengthening those ties and particularly promoting trade and investment between Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.
Sir Swire also held various meetings with prominent business leaders from across Pakistan. While CWEIC already has Bestway Group, the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan, Ijara Group, and Hussain Mills as its members from Pakistan, a number of Pakistan’s leading businesses showed keen interest in joining CWEIC as Strategic Partners. Given the growth in membership in the Pakistani business community, CWEIC is now looking at setting up a hub office in Karachi to promote trade and investment between the Commonwealth and Pakistan.
During his stay, Sir Hugo Swire also visited the Shah Faisal Mosque at the foothills of the lush green Margallah Hills and the Pakistan Monument in Islamabad. He commended and eulogized architecture design and scenic beauty of both the landmarks.
While talking to the press, the Rt Hon Sir Hugo Swire emphasized on significance of the role that Pakistan can play in the Commonwealth and how CWEIC is motivated to help Pakistan utilise its potential in trade and commerce, starting with establishing a hub office at the country’s largest metropolitan city. The Deputy Chairman CWEIC said that the council is a membership organisation designed to introduce companies from these Commonwealth countries to one another so as to facilitate joint ventures and better trades with all the 54 countries that CWEIC has as its members.
Lord Choudrey added that CWEIC is trying to create an environment of networking and prosperity by putting different businesses with each other that may be able to explore the opportunities amongst each other for best investments. He said that post Brexit UK is looking for new avenues for investment and trade, and Commonwealth is one area where UK government would like to focus on and for this CWIEC is an ideal platform to begin with.
Commenting on his visit, Sir Swire said, “I am delighted to have had such a successful visit to Pakistan, who are an integral part of Commonwealth trade. We’ve held fruitful discussions with the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Trade and Minister of Finance as well as senior business leaders. Through Strategic Partnerships with the Government of Pakistan as well as private sector businesses we aim to support Pakistan’s efforts of expanding its trade with fellow Commonwealth countries. We also have plans of setting up a hub in Karachi which will further support local businesses in their efforts to connect with partners across the Commonwealth. We look forward to receiving a strong business delegation from Pakistan at the next Commonwealth Business Forum.”
The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council
The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) is a not-for-profit membership organisation with a mandate from Commonwealth Heads of Government to promote trade and investment across the 54-member nations of the Commonwealth. CWEIC is the Commonwealth’s business network, working to connect both the public and private sector across the Commonwealth with over 90 members from 28 countries and territories.
The Commonwealth Business Forum
Every two years CWEIC hosts the Commonwealth Business Forum alongside the meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is due to be hosted in Rwanda from 23 – 25 June 2020.
The Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) has grown into a major international event, drawing together business and government leaders from all Commonwealth countries for a dialogue on practical ways to enhance trade and investment. It will be addressed by Heads of Government, senior ministers, Captains of industry and board level business leaders from around the Commonwealth and beyond. 45 Heads of Government and senior ministers, and 1,300 targeted business leaders, attended the last CBF in London in April 2018.