By Daniel Hunter

The third annual UK Pakistan Trade and Investment Conference has took place yesterday (Monday) focusing on financial and professional services.

The conference was organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and is part of a series of events throughout the year designed to highlight to UK business the opportunities in Pakistan’s growing economy — and to put key Pakistani business leaders in contact with UK investors.

The conference was held at St Ermin’s Hotel in London and was hosted by the Minster for Pakistan, Tobias Ellwood. Business representatives from the UK and delegates from Pakistan, led by Dr Miftah Ismail, Chairman of the Pakistan Board of Investment, attended.

Foreign Office Minister for Pakistan Tobias Ellwood said:
“I am delighted that there are so many experts and companies from the UK and Pakistan here today. We firmly believe that we can play a part in building Pakistan’s economy and opening doors for UK business.

“Increasing British exports and trade is a key part of our long-term economic plan that will help support jobs and growth.

“Pakistan has great potential for solid growth with the 10th largest labour force and a vibrant, young population. There are already over 100 British companies operating successfully in Pakistan and I hope that we can help create the conditions for many more to follow.

“I hope the real progress made on our bilateral trade relationship continues.”

Chairman of the Pakistan Board of Investment Miftah Ismail said: “Pakistan is an investment destination of choice because of its large middle class and trained workforce, positive economic outlook with stable indicators, huge resource base, growing financial markets and very attractive investment policies.

“It offers tremendous opportunities of foreign investment in a wide variety of sectors, particularly in the power sector, oil & gas exploration, and food & agriculture.

“In particular the financial sector of Pakistan shows good prospects with an increase in Islamic Banking practices and very strong capital markets. 26 banks operating in Pakistan have foreign shareholding while 22 banks are listed on the stock exchanges with a market capitalisation of PKR 1.5 trillion.

“Due to the economic reforms agenda of the government, the economy has gained stability and the economic indicators are on an upward trajectory. Over 100 multinational companies are successfully doing business in Pakistan and we invite more businesses to invest in the profitable market of Pakistan.

“I am hopeful that through this conference, the businesses of both countries will benefit from the professional and financial services that the UK offers.”

The UK is the world's leading global financial services centre. Financial services contributed to 12% of UK GDP in 2013. Pakistan’s financial and professional services sector has great potential with opportunities in Islamic finance, insurance and reinsurance, retail and commercial banking, and capital investment.

Today’s conference followed November’s UK-Pakistan Energy Conference which looked at how Pakistan could address its energy challenges, sharing UK expertise and experience in the energy sector.

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