Lahore : Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Greg Giokas Tuesday pledged technical assistance and full support to ensure the easy access of Pakistani business community to Canadian markets. He vowed to make all out efforts to boost mutual trade, saying that the time was ripe to strengthen further the economic relations. The Canadian High Commissioner was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari formally welcomed the High Commissioner and shared with him the methodology to increase the volume of two-way trade and bilateral investment.

The High Commissioner said that Canada is desirous of increasing its bilateral trade and investment as there are a number of sectors where huge potential for cooperation exists. He said that Energy and Agriculture are the two areas in which cooperation could lead to a win-win situation for the two countries.

He said that the High Commission would continue to assist business people and organizations seeking to strengthen Canada-Pakistan economic relations and commercial ties; and to Pakistanis and Canadians interested in expanding cooperation in a wide range of fields.

Canadian High Commissioner said that Pakistan has a lot of natural resources including vast agricultural and mineral base. However, it needs structural reforms that is, in education, skill development and taxation.

He said that Pakistan is considered as a middle income country and Canada wants to see it peaceful, prosperous and progressive.

He said: “Under WTO, we must focus on developing its competency through trainings and skill development of the manpower especially in agriculture. We would have to improve our quality, yield and certification of our produce”.

He noted that Pakistan government needs due consultations with businessmen and other stakeholders to come with practical policies for developing and putting agriculture sector on modern line assuring high yield for the benefit of the country and its large farming community. It needs comprehensive policies and their true implementation.

The Canadian High Commissioner said that his country has focused on tariff regime. It had initiated tariff reforms leading to preferential tariffs since 2010  and Pakistani business community should avail these tariff cuts.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that Canada has always supported Pakistan on various policy issues and has been among the leading countries to assist Pakistan in its efforts to acquire sustainable economic growth.

He said that two-way trade statistics show concern and hope both as the volume of trade done with Canada is minimal in terms of total trade of Canada and the ray of hope is the room for enhancing the current level of bilateral trade to a new level. He said that a little sector-specific effort can jack-up trade volume to around US$ 2 billion in next few years.