Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Thursday reiterated that Pakistan believes in trade and opening of new vistas to expand the trade and economic relations with the neighbours and beyond.

He said that Pakistan provided a good opportunity to international investors in Pakistan particularly in hydrocarbon exploration, energy and infrastructure development sectors and urged for investment by French firms.  Finance Minister made these remarks while talking to Philippe Theibaud, Ambassador of France to Pakistan. Ishaq Dar assured the Ambassador that level playing field would be provided to foreign investors. The Ambassador briefed the Finance Minister about his country’s desire to expand trade relations between the two countries and an increased interest by the French companies to invest in Pakistan. He said that during the last fiscal year, there was foreign direct investment to the tune of $74 million by French Companies in different sectors. He said that the Government of Pakistan’s reform agenda with regard to economy is impressive and the results show that considerable progress has been made in this direction. He added that we are also very positive on GSP status and exports from Pakistan which will lead to enhancement of trade and economic cooperation.

He informed that the French companies have made investments in Uch Gas Powered energy Project and now they are also looking for other energy related opportunities to enhance their investments. Moreover, he added, French companies are also interested in automobile assembly projects and water and sanitation sector.

The Ambassador informed the Finance Minister that under the arrangement of the French Embassy, a Pakistani business delegation had a very useful visit to Paris in the last month of current year and now there are plans to bring in French businessmen group to Pakistan in the first quarter of next year. He concluded that his country will be looking forward to enhance economic exchanges. The Finance Minister informed the Ambassador that managing the broken economy at a time when the new government took over one year ago was a daunting task but as a result of prudent economic policies of the government and guidance of the political leadership, the economy is moving in the right direction now.

 He said that after the first year of firefighting, we have put the economy on the right track and now we are in a comfortable situation to take forward our reform agenda.