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PM Shehbaz Heads to UAE to Discuss Trade and Investment

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif left on Thursday for the UAE on a two-day official visit at the invitation of President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

As per the Foreign Office (FO), the PM will hold discussions with particular focus on advancing economic, trade and investment ties between the two countries.

“The two leaders will exchange views on a range of regional and global issues of mutual interest,” the FO added.

PM Shehbaz will also meet with His Highness Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the PM and Vice President of the UAE.

This is the PM’s third visit to the UAE after assuming office. The premier is accompanied by a high-level delegation, including key members of the cabinet.

‘Wish list’ ready to be presented to UAE’s leadership

During the latest visit, PM Shehbaz will hold meetings with Emirati businessmen and investors to discuss ways to enhance bilateral trade and investment.

“Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates enjoy close and fraternal ties based on common faith and traditions, shared history and heritage; deep-rooted cultural affinities, geographic proximity and identity of view on several regional and global issues. Regular high-level exchanges and visits are a key feature of this relationship,” the FO said.

Citing reports, Reuters said PM Shehbaz will seek a fresh economic package and will also seek deferment of a $2 billion loan repayment to the UAE due in the coming weeks. The news agency also quoted sources as saying the PM will hold talks for finalising a $2 billion investment in Pakistan.

Earlier, sources told Business Recorder that the government has prepared a “wish list” to be presented to UAE’s top brass.

During a meeting on the proposed scheduled visit of the PM, Minister for Finance and Revenue Muhammad Ishaq Dar said it was essential that the Pakistan side went there with a focused and well-prepared agenda.

He said government priorities should be: (i) roll-over of the amounts already deposited by the UAE with State Bank; an announcement to this effect during this visit would be very helpful; (ii) request UAE to beef up its deposits by an additional $2 billion; (iii) effort should be made to settle the long-standing Etisalat/PTCL issue; and (iv) Prime Minister may like to meet the head or CEO of Abu Dhabi Holdings and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.