LAHORE - The Ambassador of France, Mr Daniel Jouanneau, has said that France is ready to extend cooperation to Pakistan in overcoming its energy shortage by building windmills and initiating solar energy projects. He was speaking at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Tuesday. LCCI Acting President Mian Muzaffar Ali, Vice President Shafqat Saeed Piracha, former LCCI Presidents Mian Tajammal Hussain, Bashir A Buksh and Mian Misbahur Rehman also spoke on the occasion. The French Ambassador said that Pakistan could overcome its energy shortage by building windmills here with the cooperation of France as it has a lot of windy areas. The Ambassador said not only France but the whole world is interested in having a stable Pakistan. He said France would take every possible step to help Pakistan in coping with all challenges it is facing today. "We cannot have more active presence in Asia if we bypass Pakistan because it is a hub between Central Asia and South Asia." He also invited Pakistani businessmen to make investment in France as investment in France means duty-free export to other 26 members of the European Union. The Ambassador, however, stressed the need for image building of Pakistan that had been lost in the eyes of world community due to multiple reasons. He said French multinationals had maintained a visible presence in Pakistan in various sectors like pharmaceutical & chemicals, telecommunication equipment; oil marketing textiles and food processing. There are several French companies operating in Pakistan. Some of them include Total in oil marketing, Alcatel Pakistan in communications, Aventis Pharma & Rhone Paulene Rorer in pharmaceuticals & Rhodia Pakistan in manufacturing, Continental Biscuits in food. These are all success stories. Total has captured a major chunk of oil marketing sector in Pakistan. All the French companies are doing good business in Pakistan. France has also significantly contributed to the building up of defence capability of Pakistan's Air Force and Navy by supplying Air Defence System & fleets of Mirages and transferring technology for building up of sub-marines. This speaks of remarkable relations that exist between the two countries, which forms the basis for more cooperation in other fields also. The LCCI Acting President Mian Muzaffar Ali, while stressing the need further expansion in commercial and economic ties between Pakistan and France, said that it was necessary that both countries have access to each other's markets. He said that major areas where France and Pakistan could work together include telecommunication, automobiles, shipbuilding and automotive parts, defence equipment, oil & gas exploration, infrastructure, textiles, garments, leather products, electrical & electronics appliances, fruits & vegetables, livestock & dairy, fisheries, horticulture, storage facilities for agro-products and cool chains. Any investment made in Pakistan will find market for its products in Pakistan, Central Asian States, China and other regional countries. France and Pakistan have a long history of close ties in all fields, whether they are political, economic, cultural or defence. The relations between the two countries have traditionally been excellent and friendly, characterised by a high level of mutual consultations.   A brief analysis of bilateral trade indicates that the total trade between France and Pakistan has averaged about US$ 471 million over the last few years. Exports from Pakistan to France averaged around US$ 299 million and imports from France to Pakistan were US$ 172 million during this period. Pakistan's exports to France during this period have been showing an increasing trend. Major items of Pakistan's exports to France include, rice, fish, cotton yarn, fabrics, readymade garments, towels, synthetic textiles, carpets and rugs, leather and leather products, footwear and sports goods. While French exports to Pakistan mainly include industrial machinery, transport equipment, iron & steel, telecommunication appliances, fertilizers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, surgical instruments, electric and non-electrical machinery, paper and paper board. Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI Vice President Shafqat Saeed Piracha, while inviting the French businessmen to make investment in Pakistan said that Pakistan's investment policy offers very attractive terms to foreign direct investment. 100% foreign equity has been allowed. No government sanction is required. Remittance of capital, profits, dividends, royalty has been allowed. As such Pakistan offers abundant opportunities for France to invest in Pakistan.