LAHORE - French Ambassador to Pakistan Dr Mark Barety has said that his first goal is to promote trade between the two countries, saying that he has evolved an action plan in this regard.

He was talking to LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Vice President Zeshan Khalil and Executive Committee members here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Ijaz A. Mumtaz, Sohail Lashari, Amjad Ali Jawa, Awais Saeed Piracha, Shahid Nazir, Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry, Nabila Intesar and others were also present on the occasion.

French Ambassador said that help to French and Pakistani businessmen to visit each other’s country, exchange of valuable trade, business & investment related information and ease of visa processing are his action plan for boosting mutual trade relations.

He said that new French president is taking various initiatives for economic stability of the country. He said that regulations are being simplified to make doing business in France easy.

He said that Pakistan needs to make its perception better as a number of French companies are shy to come here. He said that French travel advisory for businessmen should be changed as Pakistan, particularly Punjab, is safest place for business.

He also called for product diversification saying that most of the trade between the two countries is in textile sector. He said that other sectors should also be focused for trade. He said that Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry can contact French Embassy in Pakistan any time in cause of any problem.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that business community is well aware of the significance of France in European Union. Pakistan and France enjoy good diplomatic relations and have stable trade and economic ties. Among the top exporting and importing countries for Pakistan in European Union, France is ranked at 7th and 5th places respectively.

While sharing some trade figures, the LCCI President said that in 2015, the total volume of bilateral trade was 778 million dollars which surged to 817 million in 2016. The main reason of that increase was consistent rise both in imports and exports to France. From 2015 to 2016, the exports to France registered an increase of 3.3% whereas the imports from France went up by 6.5%. This trend needs to be continued. Pakistan exports menswear, women’s suits, cotton waste, hosiery items, and rice etc. to France. Pakistan’s imports from France consist of electrical machinery & appliances, pharmaceutical products, dairy produce and organic chemicals, etc.