MULTAN-French envoy in Islamabad Ms Martine Dorance pointed out yesterday that economic, political and diplomatic relations between the two countries are being strengthened with each passing day, saying Pakistan possesses great potential to expand business ties with France.

Addressing the business community of Multan here at Multan Chamber, she added that Pakistan is an important business partner of the European Union and Pakistani private sector should adopt a proactive approach to explore new avenues for promoting trade and exports with French counterparts.

Responding to a demand raised by the businessmen regarding quick processing of visas, she pointed out that the French embassy has to get no-objection certificate from 26 other members of the European Union before issuing visa to businessmen ,traders, exporters and other persons because this visa is valid for all the 27 member states of European Union.

She said that her country is keen on boosting mutual trade ties with Pakistan.

The French ambassador also assured all-out efforts to increase mutual trade volume in favour of Pakistan, saying the Pakistani business community should ensure maximum exports to France and other European Union countries through France by taking full advantage of GSP Plus status. Ms Martine Dorance invited the Multan exporters to divert their business activities to France. She said the exporters were much aware of the international quality standards `and they also have great potential to explore markets of France and EU countries. She asked the Manufacturers, industrialists and exporter of South Punjab to participate in the international trade fairs and exhibition in France. She said France would encourage regular exchange of mutual trade delegations. She said mega expos of textiles, furniture and food products would be held in France and Pakistani businessmen should ensure maximum participation in these expos to explore new areas of mutual cooperation.

In his welcome address MCCI President Khawaja Jalaluddin Roomi said that $1.5 billion bilateral trade between France and Pakistan was not reflecting true potential of both countries and trade diversification was the way forward to further improve bilateral trade between the two countries. He said many sectors of Pakistan’s economy including energy, agriculture, transport, construction, pharmaceutical, health, water and sansitisation and utilities offered great potential to foreign investors.

Earlier, she inaugurated an exhibition of local artisans organised by Multan Chamber. She appreciated the skills of local artisans particularly women.

She also visited the mausoleum of Hazrat Moosa Pak where Syed Wajahat Hussain Gilani and Dr Javed Siddiqui welcomed her. She laid a wreath on the grave. She also met traders and newly elected chairman of local councils. Phillippe FOUET, economic counsellor of France, Ashiq Hussain Qureshi Honorary Counsel of France, Shaukat Hussain Director Pakistan-France Business Alliance (PFBA) accompanied her.