KARACHI: In what is the first Pakistan-India joint venture, a furniture-making firm in Lahore, IWM Interwood Mobel (Pvt) Ltd, and Noble Translinks (Pvt) Ltd of Amritsar, have jointly set up a firm called IWM Interwood Mobel (Pvt) Ltd.
The Economic Times of Chandigarh describes it “a baby step,” for The Times of India it’s “a unique venture” in trade between Pakistan and India that could bring closer the fulfilment of the two nations’ “Aman ki Asha.”
The CEOs of the two firms, Farooq A Malik and Pardeep Sehgal, signed the joint venture agreement in Chandigarh on September 16. While the joint venture is between two private companies, it’s a government-level tie-up, and that’s what holds out hope for Pakistani and Indian traders and investors looking for stable two-way business relations.
As a minister dealing with trade at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi said in Chandigarh, the development will herald a new phase in bilateral business relations. “We are finally ready to take off,” Malik told The Times of India in Chandigarh in the middle of this month. “This is the first joint venture between two companies belonging to the two countries,” said Malik, who is a former special secretary with the government of Pakistan.
The new company has been incorporated in India.
“I believe trade should not suffer due to differences between nations,” he remarked. Malik said his firm has already bought land for its unit India for the manufacture of its products. At a trade fair in Chandigarh the previous day, September 15, the joint venture had exhibited its furniture line, with the products imported from Pakistan.
By the time the festival of Diwali comes around on November 3, 2013, IWM Interwood Mobel (Pvt) Limited will have its first showroom in Amritsar. Chandigarh and Delhi will be two of the other important cities in India which will have their own showrooms. IWM Interwood Mobel will set up 24 franchises. It expects the turnover to reach one billion Indian rupees (1.7 billion Pakistani rupees) by the end of 2014. “Not only have we been able to register the company,” Sehgal said, “we are already in the process of short-listing franchises” in the northern parts of India.”
“More then business, it’s about trust,” Malik declared. “Politicians have their own agendas, but the common man just wants peace.”