ISLAMABAD -  Federal Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Saturday said that there was interest from across the world to expand business and trade relations with Pakistan, as Renault from France would start manufacturing automobiles in Pakistan.

The minister made these remarks in a meeting with British High Commissioner Thomas Drew. Dar assured the government's full support to facilitate investments by British companies in Pakistan and new companies would be welcome.

The British high commissioner briefed the finance minister about the recent visit of the British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to Pakistan. He informed the minister that the British foreign secretary had a very successful and productive visit and carried positive sentiments for Pakistan's economic growth and development. The high commissioner also apprised the minister of the British foreign secretary's meeting with CEOs of British companies operating in Pakistan, in which the companies expressed interest to bring more investments to Pakistan.

Dar expressed appreciation for the foreign secretary's visit to Pakistan and for his encouraging words regarding Pakistan's economic progress and future potential of Pakistan-UK trade ties.

The British high commissioner said that British companies are successfully operating in Pakistan and that they provide a positive stimulus for fresh British investment in Pakistan. He also said that UK has a strong relationship with Pakistan across a broad spectrum of areas and the scale of engagement can be further enhanced with furthering British trade and investment to Pakistan.

Dar said that Pakistan valued its long-standing ties with the UK and hoped to strengthen bilateral relations further. He welcomed the proposal of the British high commissioner to enhance trade and investment with Pakistan and assured him of all support and assistance.

Meanwhile, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Ashraf Mahmood Wathra also called on the finance minister. The SBP governor briefed the minister on the latest position of the country's foreign exchange reserves. He informed the minister that on December 30, 2016 SBP has released its First Quarterly Report for FY17 on the State of Pakistan's Economy. He said that, according to the report, preliminary macroeconomic data signals a stable growth momentum during the year. The SBP governor also apprised the minister on the progress made in the implementation of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS).

The minister expressed appreciation for the efforts of SBP. He said that the present government's economic policies have resulted in record growth in the country’s foreign exchange reserves over the last three years, and have enabled the country to achieve macroeconomic stability.

He emphasized that the government is now focused on attaining higher, inclusive and sustainable economic growth. He said that the successful implementation of measures such as NFIS will play a key role in this regard.