SIALKOT - Ambassador of Switzerland in Pakistan Marc P George has stressed a need for promoting trade relations between Pakistan and Switzerland.

He said that the Switzerland was keen to establish strong business-to-business contacts between Pakistan and Switzerland as well. He stated this while addressing a meeting of Sialkot exporters held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI). Acting SCCI President Adnan Arshad Sethi presided over the meeting.

The Swiss ambassador assured the Sialkot exporters of easy access to the international trade markets of Switzerland. He also assured his full cooperation in exploring the mutual business opportunities between Pakistan and Switzerland. He added that Switzerland was intending to develop strong trade relations with Pakistan.

He said that Switzerland would also ensure direct imports of Sialkot-made products from Pakistan instead of purchasing the Sialkot made products on high prices from the other countries. He also announced to establish strong relations between Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Swiss Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

The envoy said that the era of developing the strong trade relations with Pakistan has begun and Switzerland is ready to walk step by step with Pakistan to achieve the goal of developed trade relations with Pakistan.

Acting SCCI President Adnan Arshad Sethi said that Switzerland and Pakistan have enjoyed cordial relations. He highly hailed the role of Switzerland in rural development, enhancing local governance and the protection of human rights in Pakistan.

He added both the countries have stepped up efforts to increase bilateral trade and investment while countless measures have been taken to ensure that this step is successful.

He said, "Both the countries have agreed to set up a mechanism to ensure implementation of existing agreements, aimed at substantial increase of two-way trade." The acting SCCI president said that the time was ripe to develop the strong trade relations between Pakistan and Switzerland.

He revealed that the total trade volume between Pakistan and Switzerland in 2015-16 was over US$ 280 million with balance of trade favouring Switzerland. However, there is a lot of potential to increase the volume of trade with better interactions of private sectors. He said that Pakistan and Switzerland should facilitate single country trade exhibitions and encourage frequent exchanges of mutual trade delegations. He said that the procedure for issuance of visas to businessmen should be relaxed, and business to business linkages should be encouraged and expanded.

He added that both the sides need to make concerted efforts to improve bilateral trade as there were immense possibilities and huge potential to improve  trade Pakistan and Switzerland though the joint ventures and cooperation in  various sectors. He also stressed a need to establish the strong business-to-business contacts between Pakistan and Switzerland.

Earlier, the Swiss ambassador showed keen interest in Sialkot-made sports goods, surgical instruments, leather goods and other exports products, during his visit to some industrial units in Sialkot. He witnessed the international standard craftsmanship of Sialkot-based artisans. He added that the exporters could explore and capture the international trade markets of Switzerland by exporting its world class diversified traditional and non-traditional export products.