Bel­gium trade mis­sion to visit Pak­istan for ex­plor­ing new busi­ness av­enues : En­voy

The Pak Banker - - NATIONAL -

Am­bas­sador of Bel­gium Fred­eric Ver­hey­den said on Mon­day that his em­bassy was mulling over the prospects of a trade mis­sion to visit Pak­istan for ex­plor­ing new busi­ness av­enues.

He vis­ited the Is­lam­abad Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try (ICCI) along with Trade Com­mis­sioner Abid M. Hu­sain and Trade and Com­mer­cial Of­fi­cer, Em­bassy of Bel­gium Shaukat Nawaz Ni­azi. The Am­bas­sador said that tex­tiles prod­ucts ac­counted for 75% of Pak­istan's ex­ports to Bel­gium and stressed that Pak­istan should think be­yond tra­di­tional prod­ucts to im­prove trade with Bel­gium.

He said many Pak­istani prod­ucts, in­clud­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, sur­gi­cal equip­ment, leather and fruits, had the po­ten­tial to find good mar­ket in Bel­gium and pri­vate sec­tor of Pak­istan should ac­cel­er­ate its ef­forts in that re­gard. Fred­eric Ver­hey­den said that Bel­gium was co­op­er­at­ing with Pak­istan in the en­ergy sec­tor, which was a ma­jor con­straint for its eco­nomic growth. Pak­istan, he stressed, should fo­cus on con­trol­ling its trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion losses to im­prove en­ergy sit­u­a­tion.

He said with good moves of the govern­ment, Pak­istan's out­look was chang­ing to­wards pos­i­tive, how­ever, it had to cre­ate a promis­ing en­vi­ron­ment by ad­dress­ing en­ergy, se­cu­rity and other is­sues to at­tract Bel­gium in­vestors for joint ven­tures and in­vest- ment. He said that China Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor was a game changer for Pak­istan and it was also a big chal­lenge for the coun­try in terms of its ca­pac­ity to ab­sorb huge Chi­nese in­vest­ment. He said that GSP+ was not a free lunch for Pak­istan as it had to honor its com­mit­ments on in­ter­na­tional con­ven­tions. He as­sured his full co­op­er­a­tion to the cham­ber for strength­en­ing the ex­ist­ing busi­ness re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

In his wel­come ad­dress, ICCI Pres­i­dent Atif Ikram Sheikh said that Bel­gium was the 5th largest trad­ing part­ner of Pak­istan within the Euro­pean Union, but the bi­lat­eral trade of around $882 mil­lion was less than the avail­able po­ten­tial of the two coun­tries. He said both the coun­tries should fully co­op­er­ate with­pri­vate sec­tors for tak­ing vol­ume of two-way trade up to the de­sired level of $ 2 bil­lion.

He said Bel­gium should co­op­er­ate with Pak­istan in im­prov­ing value chain. Pak­istan, he added, was an agri­cul­tural coun­try and Bel­gium should help it in re­plac­ing its flood ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem to drip ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem to save wa­ter for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

It was dis­cussed that com­mer­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Bel­gium Em­bassy should hold fort­nightly or monthly meet­ings with the ICCI to ex­plore new ar­eas for im­prov­ing trade re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

ICCI Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Sheikh Pervez Ahmed and Vice Pres­i­dent Sheikh Ab­dul Wa­heed also spoke on the oc­ca­sion.

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