KARACHI - Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Muhammad Haroon Agar has welcomed the paradigm policy shift to focus on trade with Pakistan in contrast to its policy of development aid.

Haroon Agar said the new policy of Netherlands will multiply the reciprocal trade volume between two friendly countries. He said Pakistan endeavours to achieve GSP Plus status in European Union for which the Dutch government’s support is imperative. According to a KCCI statement here on Saturday, the Chamber chief while exchanging views with First Secretary/Head of Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Robert Dresen, stated that Pakistan and Netherlands enjoy deep friendly relations and have common views on international and regional Issues.

The Netherlands, Haroon Agar said helped Pakistan in various social and educational projects, however, the business community appreciates the Dutch policy shift from aid to trade, which has been aspired by KCCI for long. It will act as a cornerstone to promote entrepreneurship development in Pakistan.

He pointed out that in 1982, Pakistan and the Netherlands had signed a bilateral Double Taxation Agreement, to promote business activities in both the countries. Pakistan is the 6th largest non-European economic partner and world’s 13th largest economic and trading partner of the Netherlands, he said. Pakistan and the Netherlands established bilateral relations soon after the independence of Pakistan. Netherlands is among top five investors in Pakistan and had invested about $8 million till 2012. Pakistan invites Netherlands investors to come and invest in textile, energy and infrastructure.

There is huge potential of enhancing Pakistani exports of textile, mangoes, rice and other products to Netherlands. Pakistan imports boilers, organic chemicals, plastic and its articles, iron and steel products, technical and medical equipment etc. Serious efforts are required to enhance bilateral trade. Exchange of business delegations, participation in exhibitions, exchange of trade information is vital, the KCCI said.

Both the countries enjoy an important location and can act as a gateway for trade to many countries. Joint efforts are required to benefit from this edge.

Haroon Agar also opined that The Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) may resume its operations in Pakistan.

KCCI can sign MoU with Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce for mutual cooperation, Haroon Agar said. He also invited Dutch exhibitors to participate in KCCI annual `My-Karachi, Oasis of Harmony’ Exhibition scheduled to be held in July 2013 which is a showcase and B2B & B2C platform wherein local and foreign exhibitors participate.