KCCI hails Netherlands’ shift from development to trade

KARACHI: Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s KCCI President Muhammad Haroon Agar has welcomed the paradigm policyshift of the Netherlands from development/aid to trade for Pakistan which will multiply the reciprocal trade volume between two friendly countries.

Pakistan endeavours to achieve GSP Plus status in European Union, the Dutch Government’s support is imperative to attain the GSP Plus by Pakistan. While exchanging views with Robert Dresen, First Secretary/ Head of Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, President KCCI stated that Pakistan and Netherlands enjoy deep friendly relations and have common views on international and regional Issues.

The Netherlands helped Pakistan various social and educational projects, however, we appreciate Dutch policyshift from aid to trade, a long withstanding demand of KCCI, which will act as a cornerstone to promote entrepreneurship development in Pakistan. In 1982, Pakistan and the Netherlands signed a bilateral Double Taxation Agreement, to promote business activities in both countries. Pakistan is the 6th largest nonEuropean economic partner and 13th largest economic partner trading partner of the Netherlands in the world. Pakistan and the Netherlands established bilateral relations soon after the independence of Pakistan. Netherlands is among top five investors in Pakistan and invested about US$ 8 million till 2012. Pakistan invites Netherlands investor to come and invest in textile, energy, infrastructure.

Trade Volume is below US$ 1 billion and is far below than its potential. Pakistan’s exports to Netherlands in JanJun 2012 were $ 202 Million while imports volume was $ 165 Million. Balance of Trade is $ 37 Million. There is huge potential of enhancing Pakistani exports of Textile, Mangoes, rice and other products to Netherlands. Pakistan imports boilers, organic chemicals, plastic and its articles, iron & steel products, technical & medical equipment etc.

Serious efforts are required to enhance bilateral trade. Exchange of Business delegation, participation in exhibitions, exchange of trade information is vital. Both the countries have important geographical location and can act as gateway for trade to many countries joint efforts are required to get benefit from this edge. He also opined that The Royal Dutch Airlines KLM may resume its operations for Pakistan. KCCI can sign MoU with Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce for mutual cooperation.

He also invited Dutch exhibitors to participate in KCCI annual “MyKarachi, Oasis of Harmony” Exhibition scheduled to be held in July 2013 which is a showcase and B2B & B2C platform wherein local and foreign exhibitors participate. He assured the Karachi Chamber’s best support and cooperation for matchmaking with their Pakistan counterparts, particularly KCCI members with Dutch businesspersons.

Robert Dresen, First Secretary/ Head of Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands stated the Netherlands has made paradigm shift in its policy from development/aid to trade which will result to enhancement in trade volume between two countries. The Netherlands and Pakistan enjoy good political relations.

Actually, the peopletopeople relations date back to seventeenth century when the Dutch East India Company established a trading post in Thatta; several trade missions followed. Huge potential of trade exist between two countries which is yet to be explored.

He said the Netherlands was amongst the top 20 economies of the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product GDP, which is four times the size of Pakistan with a population roughly the size of Karachi. The Netherlands is the 5th largest exporter of the world wherein Pakistan has a negligible share of only 0.2 per cent. Netherlands is also the 2nd largest exporter of agrogoods, and the 9th largest Foreign Direct Investment FDI source as well as recipient.

Philips, Unilever, & Royal Shell are some famous investors in Pakistan. The country has an open economy with diversified international trade in the areas of general trading, financial sector, logistics, transportation, agriculture and specialized manufacturing. The Netherlands’ bilateral ties with Pakistan encompassed over 50 years; Current bilateral trade is around $ 800 Million annually which often tilts to and fro in favour of two countries.

Netherlands desires to uplift trade and envisage new areas including shipping, ports development, water purification, dairy farming, agriculture, wind, bio gas energy, solar, coal energy, offshore energy solutions etc. equally beneficial for both countries. Pakistan can avail the benefits of Dutch expertise in energy saving/ energy efficiency as energy conservation is crucial for businesses, he added. He said that Netherlands also have expertise in water management/ effluent treatment/ industrial process, options of joint ventures in water treatment/ industrial effluent treatment and environment protection do exist.

Pakistan’s major exports to the Netherlands include textiles, while there was a huge potential for imports in the areas of livestock and agriculture, he said, while Pakistan imports from Netherlands chemicals, machinery, agricultural inputs/ seeds etc.

He apprised the President KCCI about the problems/delays of visa issuance to the Dutch Businessmen by Pakistan Embassy in the Hague quoting an example that Dutch frequent travellers to Pakistan are given single entry each time they apply.

Peter Felix, Commercial Officer, Consulate General of the Netherlands in Karachi, Shamim Firpo, Senior Vice President KCCI, Nasir Mehmood, Vice President and Managing Committee Members also participated in the meeting.