LAHORE  - Ambassador of Greece to Pakistan Petros Mavroidis has said that Pakistan and Greece need to improve their commercial and economic relations to promote bilateral trade and investment.
The Ambassador was talking to LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari during a visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday.
Petros Mavroidis said that cooperation in solar energy, LNG, Tourism, Agriculture and Infrastructure could help strengthen economic relations between the two countries as current annual bilateral trade between Greece and Pakistan was very low that needs to be enhanced by exploring the areas of common interest.
He said that the Greece enjoys great experience in the tourism sector therefore Pakistani businessmen should avail this opportunity to create win-win situation for the two countries in shortest possible time.
The Ambassador said that geographically and strategically, Greece is situated at very important place and any investment made there could help open up countless business avenues.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that this was the right time to focus on non-traditional markets, adding that frequent exchange of business delegations and establishing direct B2B contacts are the options, which should be used to exploit untapped bilateral trade and investment potential in both countries.
The LCCI President was of the view that investment cooperation was another area in which both countries could collaborate for mutual benefits. Information technology, telecommunication, construction, automobile parts, food processing, fisheries, agriculture, hotel industry and real estate offer tremendous opportunities and potential for cooperation, he added.
He said that organizing of joint cultural shows and frequent exchange of business delegations are the options which can bring people of both the countries closer to each other that would eventually enhance the mutual cooperation between Pakistan and Greece .
The LCCI President said that the mutual trade in terms of value between Greece and Pakistan meagerly averages around USD73 million having no significant impact on the volume of trade of the two countries. Currently, Pakistan is in positive balance of trade with its exports to Greece averaging around US56 million and imports from Greece averaging around US18 million. It is required to make concerted efforts to exploit the untapped potential of each other’s markets.
He said that this is not a healthy state of affairs especially when this meager trade is ranging way below even USD100 million. A declining trend in exports from Pakistan is depicting that we need to critically review our strategy and come up with a solid plan. It is observed that the private sectors of the two countries are short of the desired information flow and exchange of business representatives.
Engineer Sohail Lashari said that to create a conducive atmosphere, which can set the ball rolling towards greater economic cooperation, we must identify the areas for greater trade.
“We need to adopt modern and progressive marketing techniques substantiated with properly targeted research activities with result-oriented follow-up.” Greek import profile suggests that Pakistan can satisfactorily cater to the requirements of the Greek market sourcing food items and consumer goods including items like frozen meat, dairy products, household electric appliances, fancy furniture and fashion industry etc. in addition to more appropriate introduction of internationally renowned Pakistani products like sports goods and variety of textile products.
To further enhance the process of flow of information, both the sides should consider organizing trade delegations composed of sector specialists. Chambers of Commerce from both countries under the umbrella of the Greek Embassy can coordinate such events more efficiently.
Energy, Oil & gas exploration, infrastructure and tourism development are some sectors where Greek investors can earn profits through sector related investments. Pakistan , as you know, is rich in heritage and geographic locations. Investments and experience from Greek investors will also help our sectors to learn and improve their services.
Pakistan exports to Greece comprise bed linen, woven cotton fabrics, polymers of styrene, articles of apparel & clothing, oil seeds, footwear, rice and garments, whereas the imports from Greece include cotton, ferrous waste & scrap, lifting machinery, air conditioning machines, preserved fruits and mechanical appliances etc.