The newly posted Trade & Investment Officers (TIOs) would play a key role in enhancing exports, bringing maximum FDI and technology transfer for imports substitution industry, said Qamar Zaman Group Leader of the TIOs who visited Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) here on Thursday. He said there were lots of complaints about the non-cooperative attitude of trade officers about 20 years ago but now strict selection procedure had been adopted for their selection while their scope of work had also been enhanced from exports only to bringing maximum FDI and technology to expand the export base. He said that new selectees had also been directed to report to the Board of Investment (BOI). He acknowledged the industrial, commercial and business importance of Faisalabad and said that Faisalabad alone was contributing almost half of the total textile exports. He said that earlier exporters had to face problems in linkages with trade and investment officers posted in different countries but now they could establish reliable linkages through the internet in addition to conducting zoom meetings with the stakeholders concerned. He particularly mentioned the M3 and Allama Iqbal Industrial Estates and said that 80pc industrial units in Punjab were being established in these two estates. He said that 65 units were being established in collaboration with foreign investors which could help attract more investors from the different countries. He said the government was providing a facility of duty-free import for machinery along with a ten years tax holiday for industrial units to be established in these estates. Qamar Zaman said that a vacancy of TIO in India had been lying vacant for the last five years as there was no trade between the two countries. “Earlier Pakistan was importing dyes and chemicals from India”, he said and added that perhaps the import had been rerouted through other countries. He said that there were huge untapped opportunities for exports to Iran and Afghanistan as these countries have reliable systems of banking and payments, however, we must explore new avenues to launch joint ventures with these countries. He suggested that FCCI should establish its liaison officer in Islamabad to interact continuously with the different departments of the Commerce Ministry. Earlier, FCCI President Atif Munir Sheikh introduced Faisalabad and FCCI, and said that this city was contributing 45-48pc share in total textile exports of Pakistan. “Similarly, Faisalabad is also catering to the 80pc domestic needs of clothes and clothing”, he said and added that our more than one hundred members were dealing with the 15 countries where new trade and investment officers had been posted. He said that separate desks had been established for B2B meetings between the trade officers and our members dealing with these countries. “It would help them to directly interact and discuss issues and problems hampering exports”, he said and added that FIEDMC had taken elaborate arrangements to facilitate the new investors. “In this connection, one window operation has been launched from where industrialists could get NOCs for 32 different departments”, he said and added that NOCs were being issued within 90 days for high risk, 60 days for medium risk and 30 days for low-risk industrial units. Moderator Muhammad Azhar Chaudhry gave a detailed presentation about the import and export from the 15 selected countries and said that these officers had already visited FPCCI and other chambers but to make this event meaningful and result oriented B2B meetings had been arranged. He said that WhatsApp groups of officers and businessmen would also be formed to strengthen their linkages. He urged the trade and investment officers to identify major imports from different countries and take necessary measures for the establishment of the import substitution industry in Pakistan. He particularly mentioned joint ventures between Rally Cheese and Interloop for the manufacturing of cheese in Pakistan. Senior Vice President Imran Mahmood Sheikh said that 52pc Pakistani exports were made to the USA while 34pc are for EU countries. He complained that the foreign missions were generally providing outdated lists of importers and exporters hence newly posted TIOs should update these lists. Vice President Rana Fayyaz Ahmad offered a vote of thanks while visiting TIOs shared their strategies.