LAHORE

A trade mission led by Ambassador of Belgium in Pakistan Verheyden Frederic met Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, here on Wednesday and shared view on the matters of trade and economic relations and that the ways and means to promote cooperation in various sectors in future.

Shahbaz Sharif in his talk highlighted friendly ties between Pakistan and Belgium and underscored the need for more strengthening them through cooperation in trade and exchange of delegations on regular basis. He said vast opportunities exist for enhancing cooperation between Punjab and Belgium in information technology, dairy farming, protection from floods, irrigation, energy and infrastructure sectors. He said that we are interested in benefiting from the experience and expertise of Belgium in information technology, dairy farming, protection from floods and irrigation sectors. The Chief Minister said that Punjab government has taken solid steps for promotion of modern technology in the province. Shahbaz Sharif said that the challenge of terrorism and extremism is being dealt with an iron hand for promotion of investment. He said that political and military leadership of Pakistan are at one page for elimination of terrorism.

Ambassador Verheyden Frederic said Belgium wants to promote trade and economic cooperation with Punjab government and every possible step will be taken for this purpose.

Staff Reporter adds form Karachi: The Ambassador of Belgium, Frederick Verheyden has informed that a multi-sectoral trade delegation from Belgium, comprising representatives of 12 leading companies, was currently on a visit to Pakistan to explore opportunities of enhancing trade between the business communities of the two countries.

Exchanging views with KCCI office bearers during his visit to Chamber, the Belgian Ambassador added that many Pakistani companies visited Belgium last month and now the Belgian delegation was also here within weeks to hold meetings with business communities in Karachi and Lahore in order to explore trade enhancement opportunities in engineering, information & communication technology, steel, aluminum, healthcare, metallic & wood scrap recycling, logs & timber, dairy products, cargo logistics, potato processing and industrial equipment.

Abid Husain, Trade Commissioner, Economic & Commercial Representation, Embassy of Belgium, Ms. Karine de Vleeschouwer, Area Manager Central & South Asia of Flanders Investment & Trade, Younus Muhammad Bashir, President KCCI and Managing Committee and former office bearers attended the meeting.

The Belgian Ambassador pointed out that Belgium, being the fifth largest trading partner of Pakistan within the European Union, was keen to enhance trade and investment ties with Pakistan. Referring to Pakistan-Belgian trade volume, he said, “We can do more and we are trying to increase and stimulate the existing trade figures.”

He noted that during FY 2015, Pakistan exported goods worth $496.01m against $471.56m in the same period last year, showing an increase of 5pc. The imports from Belgium amounted to $328.01m as against $427.76m in FY 2014, indicating a decline of 23 percent.

Although the trade balance was in favour of Pakistan but the trade volume of slightly above $800 million, was very low which needs special attention from both sides, President KCCI added.

He said that KCCI wants to promote business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and Belgium. “We also want to promote Belgian investment in Pakistan and do everything for the development of Pakistan–Belgium business cooperation.”

Younus Bashir also invited Belgian companies to participate in 13th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony exhibition scheduled to be organised in the month of April next year. The three-day long event will provide an excellent opportunity to Belgian businessmen and industrialists to showcase their products and create strong linkages with the business community of Karachi by holding B2B meetings in a cordial atmosphere.