Collaborating with China in chemical industry to enhance Pakistan’s competitiveness: PCMA

By Mariam Raheem | Gwadar Pro Nov 18, 2021

Pakistan does not have mature technology to produce petrochemical complex facilities or cracking units, which is a very big constraint to the development of its chemical industry. Pakistan can collaborate with China and learn from China’s experience to promote the sustainable development of the chemical industry and give full play to the industry in the national economic construction.

The above views were expressed by Mr Iqbal Kidwai, Secretary General, Pakistan Chemical Manufacturers Association (PCMA) in a recent interview with Gwadar Pro. With the rapid development of biotechnology, the biochemical industry has injected new vitality into the traditional chemical industry and opened up new development directions and insights. Mr Iqbal Kidwai further explained that China has a growing influence in the field of biochemical industry globally. Both approaches will be of great benefit to Pakistan.

With the continuous growth of economy and population base, the demand of Pakistani citizens for chemical products is increasing day by day. The country is highly dependent on imported oil products, and the shortage of oil products has even affected national security. Economic growth will widen the gap in the future. Understanding this potential, PCMA has been successful in encouraging major players to invest in petrochemical projects.

Mr Iqbal Kidwai stated that, “In this regard, PCMA along with member industries have drafted a proposed petrochemical policy and shared it with concerned authorities in government of Pakistani. After getting approval, major players are willing to establish six midstream petrochemical projects. These investments will establish bases for upstream cracker, stimulate growth, reduce imports by $800 million, create 50,000 direct & indirect jobs and provide raw materials for downstream industry and attract fresh investments in the SME sector.”

Cracker is an important link in the transfer of chemical production to downstream and upstream operations. Mr Iqbal Kidwai highlighted that it is significant to establish a chemical industrial park with facilities such as common effluent treatment plant, a sound supply network of water, electricity, centralised steam generating facility to reduce capital & operating expenditures for chemical manufacturers. China’s successful chemical park model can provide Pakistan’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the necessary resources and facilities, so as to achieve cluster development.

With the promulgation of the SME Policy, Pakistani government is taking rational and challenging steps to develop SMEs for their growth. Mr Iqbal Kidwai added that according to the internal criteria of chemical industry, about 40% of the PCMA members are SMEs. “Depending on the mitigation of the Covid-19 pandemic, we plan to formulate a delegation to meet Chinese manufacturers, exporters, importers and technology providers, visit their factories and facilities to learn more and seek collaboration opportunities for joint ventures.”

Pakistan’s chemical industry being a cross-cutting industry provides inputs for many other industries including textiles, agriculture, food & beverages, leather, paper, pharmaceutical, plastics, printing, sugar etc. It is important to build the global reputation of “made in Pakistan” from strength to brand in the above industries. “As some countries diversify their procurement options in the wake of pandemic, Pakistan has also won several international orders for the development of the chemical industry. Chinese companies can relocate to Pakistan to tap this potential.” Mr Iqbal Kidwai concluded.

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