ICCI, EU dialogue for enhancing EU-Pak Trade TiesApril 11, 2013
Islamabad: Pakistan has unique geographical and strategic geo-political location and considered to be the hub of trade in South Asia, therefore, EU countries should also consider Pakistan for enhancing trade and investment.
These remarks were made by Mr.Zafar Bakhtawari, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) while addressing at a dinner hosted by ICCI in honour of EU Ambassadors designated in Pakistan.
Mr.Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Head of the Delegation and Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan, Mr.Petros Mavroidis, Ambassador of Greece, Ambassador of France, Austria, Czech Republic, Romania, Italy, Poland, Spain, UK Deputy Head of Mission and Swedish Deputy Head of Mission participated in the dinner.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr.Lars-Gunnar Wigemark said that Pakistan and EU are enjoying deep rooted political and economic relations as well as EU has supported Pakistan in a number of sectors.
He said that Pakistan would get the GSP plus status by the end of this year which will give a better market access of Pakistani Products to EU markets.
Mr.Zafar Bakhtawari, President ICCI apprised that European Union (EU) is the largest trading partner of Pakistan with an annual trade volume of over 10 billion euro.
He said that Pakistan attached great importance to its relationship with the EU regional bloc as its annual GDP accounts $17trillion which was higher than GDP of US which is around $15trillion and China’s GDP of $7trillion.
ICCI President said that European society is very liberal and transparent which give equal opportunities to its citizens to become member of parliaments, adding that its quite appreciative that even Pak-origin people are the members of Britain, Denmark and Norway’s Parliaments.
He said that a large number of Pakistanis are also working in EU countries and contributing in the development of Pakistan in form of remittances as Pakistan’s remittances has crossed the figure of $12billion.
Mr.Bakhtawari urged all the EU Ambassadors designated in Pakistan to support Pakistan for grant of GSP plus status which would provide easy access to Pakistani products in EU market and further enhance Pakistan’s volume of trade with EU countries.
He said that EU is also considering signing of a FTA with India, therefore, EU should also grant GSP plus status to Pakistan before such arrangements which would improve the bilateral trade volume as well as enhance the European influence in Pakistan.
ICCI President also urged all the EU Ambassadors to promote the direct air link between Pakistan and Capitals of EU countries by using their national air-lines.
Mr.Petros Mavroidis, Ambassador of Greece said that Pakistan and Greece need to improve their commercial and economic relations to promote bilateral trade and investment by taking advantage of new business opportunities.
Mr.Emilian Ion, Ambassador of Romania lauded the devoted efforts of Mr.Bakhtawari and informed the meeting that Romanian Government has awarded him a honorary award for playing a dynamic role in further strengthening bilateral relations between Pakistan and Romania.
He said that business communities of Pakistan and Romania have to play a vital role for the promotion of bilateral trade and their greater mutual interaction is needed to achieve the ultimate objectives.