PESHAWAR – Ambassador of Brazil to Pakistan Alferdo Leoni said on Monday that Pakistan has its image problem due to security situation in the country, so there is a need for having businessmen-to-businessmen contacts so as to present a positive aspect of the same for better ties between the two countries.

Pakistan’s image will improve with exchange of visits of businessmen from both the countries, he said, adding that Pakistani businessmen can play a vital role to improve country’s image with regard to security, because people of Brazil, especially businessmen avoid visiting the country just because of fear of terrorist incidents.

He, however, in the same breath added that security situation is much improved in Pakistan these days and his presence in Peshawar manifested this fact otherwise he would not have visited Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He added that the present image of Pakistan had been portrayed by international media.

He expressed these views while addressing a business community of Peshawar during his visit to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI) and speaking at a function at Honorary Consulate of Brazil in Peshawar.

Mr Alfredo Leoni said that governments of Barzil and Pakistan are working on a plan to relax travel restrictions and provide multiple visas to businessmen of both the countries with an objective to increase bilateral trade. There was plenty of room for improvement in bilateral trade between the two countries.

Mr Leoni said he was not here just to promote the commercial relations between Pakistan and Brazil, but also to send a clear message that the embassy was here to help you in doing business with Brazil or traveling to Brazil, a rising power in the world. One positive thing is that Pakistan’s export to Brazil reached almost by 80 per cent during 2009 to 2011i.e from $44 million to $80 million. He said major Brazilian exports to Pakistan included cotton, plastic, iron and steel and major Brazilian imports from Pakistan included textile items, surgical items, soccer balls etc.

He said Brazil has become the eighth biggest consumer market in the world and businessmen of Pakistan should take benefit of this advantage by extending trade to Brazilian market. Brazil, he added, is a country of continental size with the fifth largest territory in the world and during the year 2011, Brazil total trade with world has reached 482 billion US dollars.

Brazil Ambassador said that his country was extending technical assistance to Pakistan especially in agriculture sector. Referring to a demand of relaxation in custom clearance of goods, he said they can work bilaterally. He said long distance between our two countries had always been the biggest limitation for the improvement of trade relations. However, this fact is less important today with the multiple means of communication and facilities of flight to Brazil. He said direct flight to Brazil can easily be obtained on daily basis from Dubai.

President KPCCI, Afan Aziz in his welcome address stressed the need of increasing ratio of visa issuance between the two countries.

He said majority of the businessmen in Pakistan are Small Entrepreneurs and they face problems in clearance of their goods while visiting Brazil.

He said the government of Pakistan should learn from the success story made by Brazilian government in overcoming socio-economic problems being faced by the country in 1980 to 1990. He also appreciated the assistance provided by Brazil to the people of KP after the devastating floods in the province in the year 2010. The Brazilian government, he added, provided 710 tonnes of food for people of KP through WFP. Similarly, an amount of Rs 130 million was provided by Brazil in 2011 for humanitarian purpose.

Mr Alfredo Leoni while speaking at a function at the Honorary Consulate of Brazil in Peshawar said that Pakistani market is not well known in Brazil despite a fact that there is a great potential.

Responding to a question, he said that Brazil has so far awarded scholarships to 10 Pakistani students in post graduate medial and engineering disciples. Interestingly, all the 10 students belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. “It is a start and we will certainly increase the number of scholarships soon”.

Responding to another question, he praised both government and people for playing a big role against terrorism by rendering a lot of sacrifices. Brazil Honorary Consular in Peshawar Amer Faruque.

Meanwhile, the Ambassador of the federative Republic of Brazil in Pakistan Alfredo Leonil called on the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor, Barrister Masood Kausar at Governor’s House Peshawar on Monday.

The respected Guest remained with the Governor for some time and discussed matters of mutual interest with special reference to the situation in the region.