ISLAMABAD - Germany on Saturday said Pakistan should not take GSP plus preferences for granted, as the country would have to comply with 27 international conventions related to human rights, governance and labour standards.

While addressing business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), the German Ambassador Ms. Ina Lepel, ,said," The European countries have some concerns over death penalty in Pakistan, and the government should take measures to address these concerns."

She said GSP+ was a key driver for promoting bilateral trade between Pakistan and Germany. She further said that Germany was focusing on renewable energies and energy efficiency in Pakistan, including consultancy for individual enterprises on energy conservation

“Germany has financially supported major hydropower projects and upgradation of distribution system in Pakistan. Pakistan-German Renewable Energy Forum will open soon for business,” she told the gathering.

Lepal said a German business delegation, along with the deputy foreign minister of the country, had already visited Pakistan last June, while another delegation would come to Pakistan during the second half of this year to explore new avenues of mutual cooperation. She said Germany's trade figures with Bangladesh, Thailand and Malaysia were much larger, and the Pakistani businessmen should make more efforts to promote trade with Germany.

The ambassador said Germany was one of the major donors for the TVET reform programme in Pakistan to provide young people with the skills and competence required by local and foreign employers.

“Another programme, at the factory level, was aimed at enhancing the productivity and improving the labour standards, which could give Pakistani companies an edge in the European markets as the European consumers are willing to pay more for the products produced according to the international standards,” Lepal elaborated.

She said her Embassy was working with the Pakistani business community to strengthen the German-Pakistan business institutions, and Pakistan-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been granted license which she hoped would further improve bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries.

Speaking on the occasion, ICCI President Atif Ikram Sheikh said that given the market size of Pakistan and Germany, bilateral trade of $2.3 billion in 2014 was not up to the real potential of both the countries, and there was a great need for diversifying the two-way trade by focusing on more products.

He added keeping in view the importance of CPEC for the investors, it was high time that more German companies and investors should explore Pakistan for investment and joint ventures.

Sheikh said Germany had always supported Pakistan for getting greater market access to EU, and hoped it would continue to promote Pakistan's business and economic interests in the European markets.