The Inaugural Meeting on the Establishment of ASEAN-Pakistan Sectoral Dialogue Relations was held in Islamabad on 5-7 November 1997.
2. The Meeting was attended on the ASEAN side by H.E. Dato’ Ajit Singh, General of ASEAN, the leader of the delegation; H. E. Pengiran Mashor Pengiran Ahmad, Director-General, ASEAN-Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr. Witjaksana Soegarda, Director-General, ASEAN-Indonesia; H.E. Mr. Somphet Khousakoun, Director-General ASEAN-Laos; H.E. Dato’ Abdul Majid Ahmad Khan, Director-General, ASEAN-Malaysia; Mr.Khin Maung Lynn, Charge d’ Affaires, Embassy of the Union of Myanmar in Islamabad; H.E. Mr.Ernesto V. LLamas, Director-General, ASEAN-Philippines; H.E.Mr. Michael Cheok, Director-General, ASEAN-Singapore; H.E. Mr. Anucha Osathanond, Director General, ASEAN-Thailand; Mrs. Hoang Thi Ninh, Deputy Director-General, ASEAN-Vietnam; H.E. Mr. Dodi Sutanto, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia and Chairman of the ASEAN-Islamabad Committee, and their respective delegations.
3. The Pakistan delegation was led by Foreign Secretary His Excellency Mr. Sbamshad Ahmad and included senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other concerned Ministries.
4. The Meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Gohar Ayub Khan, Foreign Minister of Pakistan and H.E. Dato’ Ajit Singh Secretary-General ASEAN. In his address, His Excellency Mr. Gohar Ayub Khan emphasized the importance of the Sectoral Dialogue and stressed Pakistan’s strong desire for a closer relationship with ASEAN.
5. In his opening statement, H.E. Dato’ Ajit Singh pointed out that this Meeting was a demonstrations of the great importance the Government of Pakistan attached having closer ties with ASEAN. He said that ASEAN welcomed very much this orientation of Pakistan towards the ASEAN region and expressed ASEAN’s readiness to work with her for the mutual benefit of both our peoples. He added that the challenge before us is to ensure that the Sectoral Dialogue is effective and meaningful to both sides and suggested that the ASEAN experience of adopting approaches which were practical and pragmatic and which were realistic and not overly ambitious would be helpful. He also called on the private sector from both sides to play a lead role for the were the real players on the field.
6. The ASEAN Secretary General and his accompanying delegation called on H.E. Mr. Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan. His Excellency Mr. Nawaz Sharif expressed satisfication at the formalization of ASEAN-Pakistan Sectoral Cooperation and appreciated the progress made in the identification of the areas and modalities of mutually-beneficial cooperstion between Pakistan and ASEAN. He expressed the hope that the ASEAN-Pakistan Sectoral Dialogue would lead to Full Dialogue Partnership at the earliest possible.
7. The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Dato’ Ajit Singh and H.E. Mr. Shamshad Ahmad.
8. The Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, in his statement, underlined the importance of close ASEAN-Pakistan ties. He comprehensively briefed the meeting on the macro-economic policies initiated by the government as well as the attractive climate for foreign investment and joint ventures in Pakistan. The Foreign Secretary made specific proposals and recommendations for greater trade exchanges, promotion of investments, and launching of joint ventures between Pakistan and ASEAN.
9. At this meeting, the Terms of Reference of the ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee (APJSCC) were adopted. The APJSCC will be the body overseeing and facilitating the process of cooperation between ASEAN and Pakistan. The APJSCC may convene sub-committees or working groups to assist the APJSCC in pursuing and developing specific areas of cooperation. On the ASEAN side, an ASEAN Islamabad Committee (AIC) has been established to facilitate the Sectoral Dialogue. The AIC comprises the Heads of ASEAN Diplomatic Missions accreditated to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
10. The Meeting was pleased to note the formation of the ASEAN-Pakistan Business Council (APBC) through the Cooperation Agreement signed on 14 October 1997 between the ASEAN Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Pakistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The Meeting agreed on the significant role of the private sectors in promoting and enhancing economic ties, and encouraged increasing interaction between the private sectors of ASEAN and Pakistan. The Meeting welcomed participation from the APBC at future meetings of APJSCC.
11. On the areas of cooperation, the Meeting agreed that ASEAN-Pakistan Sectoral Dialogue will initially cover the sectors of trade, industry, investment, environment, science and technology, drugs and narcotics, tourism and human resource development. Several proposals made by Pakistan in the areas of cooperation were discussed during the meeting. These, inter-alia, included :
(i) setting-up of Joint Working Group on Trade Facilitation and Export Financing;
(ii) establishment of ASEAN-Pakistan Trade and Investment Promotion Centre;
(iii) promotion of foreign investment and joint ventures; and
(iv) close collaboration in the fields of textile technology, palm oil, electronics, and automobile industry.
12. The Meeting agreed that these and other proposals be considered at the First APJSCC Meeting to be held in Indonesia.
Date and Venue of the First Meeting of the ASEAN-Pakistan Joint Sectoral Cooperation Committee
13. The Meeting agreed that the First Meeting of the APJSCC will be hosted by the Secretary-General of ASEAN in November 1998 in Bali, Indonesia.
14. The Secretary-General of ASEAN and the delegates from ASEAN countries expressed their profound thanks to the Government of Pakistan for the warm hospitality extended to them during their stay in Pakistan.