LAHORE: Implementation of all conventions under GSP Plus Status will help Pakistani businessmen to avail trade opportunities in Belgium. Belgian companies have shown keen interest in Pakistani market. Belgian Ambassador Frederic Verheyden stated these views at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
The LCCI President Almas Hyder, CEO Wallonia Export & Investment Agency Mrs. Pascale Delcomminette, Trade Commissioner of Belgian Embassy Abid Husain,LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir, Vice President Fahim-ur-Rehman Sehgal, former office-bearers and executive committee members also spoke on the occasion.
The ambassador said that both countries should identify more areas for cooperation and should also introduce more tradable items to enhance mutual trade volume. He said that Belgian companies have shown keen interest in Pakistani market. He urged the Pakistani businessmen to start joint ventures with their Belgian counterparts. He said that Pakistan should take full advantage of best geographical position of Belgium in European Union. He said there should be more interaction between the business communities of the two countries to enhance trade and economic cooperation. He said that Pakistan is the beneficiary of GSP Plus Status. Implementation of all conventions under GSP Plus Status will help Pakistani businessmen to avail trade opportunities in Belgium.
CEO Wallonia Export & Investment Agency Mrs. Pascale Delcomminette gave a detailed overview of Belgian economy saying that Belgium is enjoying great importance as it is geographical center of European Union. She said that its productivity is highest in the world, export-to-GDP ratio is 85% and foreign trade has played a vital role in economic progress of Belgium.
She said that Belgium is fifth largest trade partner of Pakistan in European Union and its companies have keen interest in making mutual trade ties more stronger. She said that Pakistani businessmen should develop strong liaison with their Belgian counterparts and establish distribution centers and warehouses there. She said that Belgium is a gateway to Germany, Holland, France and beyond. She said that catalogue and trade exhibitions can help explore potential of the two countries.
The LCCI President Almas Hyder said that Belgium is first country of the world that which went through industrial revolution. He said that Pakistan has sixth largest population in the world and a big market for Belgian business community. He said that there are numbers of investment opportunities in almost all the sectors of Pakistan economy. The Government of Pakistan is committed to improve the investment climate of country.
Talking about bilateral trade, the LCCI President said that it is worth sharing thatPakistan has favourable balance of trade and our exports to Belgium are consistently on the rise. In 2015, the total volume of our exports to Belgium was around dollar 592 million which inched up to dollar 651 million in 2016 and dollar 701 million in 2017. However, the imports from Belgium dipped from dollar 572 million to dollar 366 million during last two years but total trade remained over a billion dollar. I hope that in the wake of second phase of GSP Plus status.
Belgium will give us greater access to their markets that would allow us to take the level of bilateral trade to dollar 2 billion, Almas Hyder added.
The LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir and Vice President Fahim-ur-Rehman Sehgal said that the growing importance of Belgium in the wake of its central position and location in the European Union calls for more integrated efforts focusing on exchange of trade delegations, institutional contacts between the Chambers of Commerce, participation in international trade fairs etc. Trade Commissioner of Belgian embassy Abid M. Hussain said that visit of Belgian trade delegation is an ample proof that interest of Belgian businessmen in Pakistan is growing.