LAHORE: The Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry(LCCI) and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce & Industry, UK, have inked a Memorandum of Understanding to increase cooperation towards improving trade and economic activities between Pakistan and the United Kingdom. President of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry Mian Tariq Misbah and Chairman Hounslow Chamber of Commerce & Industry Christopher Durkin signed the MOU. Ms. Tehmina Saeed Chaudhry, Executive Committee Member LCCI and Convener Standing Committee on “Environment,” Managing Director, Hounslow CCI Alan Rides, Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan in the UK Dr. Faisal Aziz Ahmad, Deputy High Commissioner and Trade Officer for Pakistan, British High Commission in Karachi Mike Nithavrianakis also attended the signing ceremony. The MoU aims at increasing trade and investment opportunities for the members of both LCCI and Hounslow CCI. Both signatories will establish effective consultation, cooperation, and exchange of information between them and further agree to hold meetings at regular intervals to identify the focus areas of cooperation. LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that such interactions provide linkages for economic and social cooperation. LCCI hopes that this MOU would go a long way in strengthening working relations with the business community of the United Kingdom through your good offices. He said that since both LCCI and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce are the premier business support organizations of their countries, therefore, sound relations between us can greatly contribute to exploiting the trade & investment potential between Pakistan and United Kingdom. The LCCI President said that both Pakistan and UK enjoy warm and cordial diplomatic relations for long. The UK has been one of the major trading partners of Pakistan and among the top exporting destinations around the globe. He said that both countries are maintaining the level of two-way trade well over 2 billion dollars. In 2020, the bilateral trade volume stood at 2.34 Billion Dollars. Pakistan’s exports to the UK are around 1.73 Billion Dollars while our imports from the UK are 611 million dollars. “Although Pakistan enjoys a positive trade balance with the UK, LCCI feels that the trade volume can be increased many times, particularly through the efforts of institutions like ours. There is ample potential for joint ventures between business communities of Pakistan and the United Kingdom in the areas of Pharmaceuticals, I.T., Renewable Energy, Processed Food, Surgical Instruments, Leather Goods, Automotive parts, Electric Vehicles, Mobile phone manufacturing, and Retail sector, etc. He added that both LCCI and Hounslow Chamber can play a key role in facilitating Joint Ventures in the potential areas”. A positive development has occurred in the post-BREXIT scenario as the UK government has assured that Pakistan will continue to receive the same level of market access after BREXIT that it is receiving under the GSP plus scheme. It goes without saying that your contacts and business relations with UK based business community will certainly help us in taking advantage of the said assurance given by the UK government. It is needless to mention that we will require unconditional and full support from the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce to obtain these objectives. Christopher Durkin, Chairman Hounslow Chamber of Commerce &Industry, said that the London borough of Hounslow has a vibrant and diverse population of some 280,000 people and a business community in excess of some 18,000 companies that reflect all aspects of that diversity. He said that the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a multinational and multi-cultured Chamber. Ms. Tehmina Saeed Chaudhry, Executive Committee Member LCCI and Convener Standing Committee on “Environment,” said that this is a historic moment as LCCI and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce &Industry have taken the initiative to sign MOU. She said that this would strengthen the liaison between both chambers. Moreover, she also said that post-COVID-19, both countries have enormously suffered in every sphere of life, so it is important to boost and uplift each other by formulating these linkages. Mr. Alan Rides, Managing Director, Hounslow Chamber of Commerce & Industry, said that London City is one of the main hubs of business generation as it generates £500 Billion and Hounslow Chamber of Commerce share is £40 Billion. Dr. Faisal Aziz Ahmad, Deputy Pakistan High Commissioner, London, appreciated this initiative as this would help generate revenue and boost the economies of both countries. He said that Lahore and Hounslow are twin cities. Mike Nithavrianakis, Deputy High Commissioner and Trade Director for Pakistan, British Deputy High Commission, Karachi, said it is important to strengthen liaison between the countries,. This can only occur by connecting through organizations like Chambers. He also informed the members that the UK is keen to work with Pakistan and enhance trade and commerce, and in order to achieve this, they have collaborated with the State Bank of Pakistan, FBR, SECP, and Ministry of Commerce.