According to the Minister of Foreign Trade and to the president of the Export Promotion Organization of Pakistan, Tariq Ikran, Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and the Pakistani state-owned Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), are negotiating a joint venture for exploration of oil and gas on the Pakistani coast.
Pakistan is interested in establishing partnerships with Brazil in the areas of oil, gas and ethanol. “This subject is being discussed,” said Ikran. He was in São Paulo April 19 heading a diplomatic and business mission.
Although Pakistan is not an Arab country, 95% of the population is Muslim. Ikran took advantage of his visit to the capital of the state of São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil, to visit the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (CCAB) and was received by the president of the organization, Antonio Sarkis Jr.
The possibility of agreements between Petrobras and the Pakistani oil company is the direct consequence of the visit Pervez Musharraf, president of the Asian country, took to Brazil in November 2004.
According to Ikran, the Pakistani government decided that it was time to transform the good political relations with Brazil and other South American countries into stronger commercial exchange.
According to information supplied by a spokesperson for Petrobras, during his visit, Musharraf invited the Brazilian company to send a representative to Pakistan, with the objective of analysing the existing business opportunities.
Two company technicians were recently in Pakistan and were met by the country minister of Oil and Natural Resources, Amanullah Khan Jadoon.
“At the occasion, the minister stated to Petrobras that Pakistan would like the Brazilian company to take advantage of the opportunities the country is offering for exploration and production of oil, mainly offshore, an activity in which Petrobras experience is of international renown,” according to a statement the company published yesterday.
Pakistan is currently promoting a process of privatization that involves the sale and share control of companies like PLL.
According to Ikran, his country is also interested in obtaining technology that Brazil has already dominated in systems for compression of natural gas, production of ethanol for use as vehicle fuel and in the chemical industry.
Sugarcane is one of the main agricultural products of Pakistan. “Our private sector is already talking to businessmen here,” he said.
In São Paulo, the Minister had two main objectives. In the first place, participation in a conference that brought together the ambassadors and Pakistani commercial representatives based in South America. The target of the event was to discuss ways of expanding economic relations between the Asian country and the South American nations.
In the second place, Ikran lead a delegation of 18 Pakistani businessmen representing sectors like the textile, sports article, pharmaceutical product, cutlery, surgical equipment and others. According to him, Brazil imports many of these products in great quantity, but few from Pakistan.
Surgery instruments and sports equipment, like bags, are among the main products in the Pakistani trade basket with Brazil. Last year the Asian country exported a total of US$ 6.5 million to Brazil. In the first quarter of 2005, Brazilian imports of Pakistani products exceeded US$ 2 million.
The trade balance is very uneven, as Brazil exported the equivalent to US$ 97.5 million to the Asian country in 2004 and US$ 35.4 million in the first three months of this year. The growth is also uneven. Whereas Brazilian shipping rose 273% in the first quarter, imports of Pakistani products rose 61%.
In this sense, the Minister stated that he was visiting São Paulo to “create alliances and international agreements.” He met with representatives of a series of sector organizations and has already confirmed participation of Pakistani businessmen at Expo-Abras, the supermarket sector fair to take place in the second half. Ikran also articulated the presence of Brazilian companies at Export 2006, the foreign trade fair that is going to take place in his country.
Located in the center-south of Asia, Pakistan has frontiers with China, India, Afghanistan and Iran and its shoreline is bathed by the Arabian Sea. With a population of 149 million inhabitants, the country has a Gross Domestic Product of US$ 82 billion (World Bank figures of 2003), but it has been growing at rates of over 5% a year.
The service sector has a dominant participation in the country GDP, 53.2%, with agriculture and industry representing similar shares in the economy, respectively 23.5% and 23.3%.
The main agricultural products of the country are cotton, wheat, rice and sugarcane. In the case of industrialized products, the main products are textile, cement, fertilizer, ironworks, electronic equipment, surgery instruments and pharmaceutical products, among others.
ANBA – Brazil-Arab News Agency
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