Saudi Arabia agrees to increase rice imports from Pakistan to 20% — Pakistani official

Country: Pakistan
Saudi Arabia agrees to increase rice imports from Pakistan to 20% — Pakistani official
26 April 2024

Saudi Arabia has agreed to boost rice imports from Pakistan to 20 percent of the Kingdom’s total requirement, a significant development as Pakistan aims to achieve $3 billion in rice exports for the first time ever. This decision reflects the growing economic ties between the two countries, which recently committed to investing about $5 billion in Pakistan. Muhammad Zubair Motiwala, head of Pakistan's Trade Development Authority, stated that Saudi Arabia is eager to invest in Pakistan and increase imports from the country. Currently, Pakistan exports 7 percent of its rice to Saudi Arabia, and this agreement will triple that amount.

Pakistan's rice exports have already reached $2.9 billion from July 2023 to March 2024, and officials are confident that they will surpass the $3 billion mark by the end of the fiscal year. This positive development follows the recent visit of the Saudi foreign minister to Pakistan, aiming to strengthen economic cooperation and advance investment deals. A high-powered Saudi delegation is expected to visit Pakistan soon, further boosting trade and investment prospects. Saudi Arabia is particularly interested in privatization projects, including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Pakistan Steel Mills, as well as investments in the stock exchange and private sector ventures.

Despite Pakistan's significant exports, Motiwala believes that the country has not fully tapped into its export potential, estimated to be over $100 billion. He emphasizes the need to reduce the cost of doing business and manufacturing in Pakistan to unlock this potential. The Trade Development Authority is working closely with the government to achieve this goal. Additionally, Pakistan plans to organize a single country exhibition in Riyadh within the next two months to showcase a wide range of "Made-in Pakistan" products, further enhancing bilateral trade relations between the two countries.

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