Belgium Ambassador to Pakistan Philippe Bronchain has said Pakistan should take full advantage of best geographical position of his western European country in the 28-member European Union – a political and economic regional grouping.
Addressing business persons at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he said that Pakistan and Belgium should identify more areas for cooperation and should also introduce more tradable items to enhance mutual trade volume.
He said that trade, investment, economic and friendly relations are very important to him and he has a mission to make these stronger. He said that Pakistan and Belgium enjoyed over 70 years of cordial relations which had gradually expanded.
Belgium had always emphasized importance of trade and investment and people-to-people contacts, he said, asserting that bilateral trade had more than doubled over the last few decades that could be further increased through joint efforts.
The ambassador underscored that there should be more interaction between business communities of Pakistan and Belgium to enhance trade and economic cooperation. He said that Pakistan was given the GSP Plus status by the European Union and it must get avail full benefits of this facility.
LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Belgium came simultaneously at sixth place among top importing as well as exporting countries in the European Union. “Pakistan has been experiencing favourable balance of trade with Belgium and we wish to maintain it. There were better prospects of increasing trade and investment relations on the basis of GSP-Plus status,” he said.
“We must find ways to enhance current level of trade through identifying more items of trade.” He said that there are good prospects for undertaking joint ventures in Pakistan with the help of Belgium’s experience in agro food processing, chemicals, surgical instruments, paper and paperboard, dairy, fertilizers and many more.
While, LCCI Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar said that bilateral trade volume between Pakistan and Belgium had decreased which should be focused immediately. He said that the Lahore Chamber had declared export emergency along with diplomatic emergency to increase Pakistan’s exports and to strengthen diplomatic ties with countries all around the globe. For this purpose, he said, the LCCI had decided to have comprehensive discussions with foreign missions here in Pakistan.
Trade Commissioner of Belgium Abid Hussan said that Belgium highly encouraged Pakistani business community to have joint ventures with their counterparts in Belgium. Though there were dips in bilateral trade, this was a normal thing, he said, adding that there is an overall business compression which affected the trade between the two sides.