The Malaysian representative urges entrepreneurs to discover opportunities in Malaysia

Ambassador Azhar, alongside Mr. Mohd Syafik, a High Commission Counsellor, visited the Islamabad Chamber of Small Traders and Small Industries (ICSTSI) in Islamabad, aiming to strengthen ties between the High Commission and ICSTSI. Upon arrival, Mr. Sajjad Sarwar, President of ICSTSI, and other executives welcomed the delegation.

The purpose of this visit was to foster bilateral engagement, commencing with a recital from the Holy Quran and an introduction to ICSTSI by Mr. Sajjad. Ms. Syeda Wajida, Chairperson of Diplomatic Affairs of ICSTSI, highlighted the development of small traders and industries in Pakistan, with various office bearers, executive members, and ICSTSI members present.

Ambassador Azhar outlined the historical relations between Malaysia and Pakistan, noting the establishment of formal ties in 1957 and the subsequent elevation to a strategic partnership in 2019. He emphasized Malaysia’s significant number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), constituting over 97% of the nation’s businesses and contributing 38.4% to the GDP. Malaysia’s SME Corporation supports these entities in expanding their operations.

Furthermore, Ambassador Azhar discussed how Malaysian SMEs coped during the COVID-19 pandemic by shifting towards digital marketing and online businesses, reducing unnecessary expenses. He encouraged Pakistan to explore similar digital marketing concepts to expand trade and investment opportunities.

Expressing optimism for stronger cooperation in trade and investment, the Ambassador highlighted the importance of leveraging small and medium trades for mutual benefits. The meeting concluded with an interactive Q&A session, followed by the Ambassador’s visit to the exhibition corner, fostering a warm and cooperative atmosphere.

In closing, the President of ICSTSI presented a shield to Ambassador Azhar, signifying the cordial conclusion of the event. Additionally, Ambassador Azhar invited ICSTSI members to consider Malaysia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as a potential business gateway, given the substantial market comprising a combined population of 680 million.

Malaysia and Pakistan share a history of close bilateral relations, with Pakistan being Malaysia’s 35th largest trading partner, 28th largest export destination, and 40th largest import source. In 2022, total bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to RM7.84 billion (USD1.78 billion), making Pakistan Malaysia’s 3rd largest trading partner among South Asian nations.

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