FAISALABAD - Trade between Pakistan and Spain has been hovering around one billion dollar and concrete steps must be taken to exploit untapped potential by encouraging frequent exchange of trade delegations and organizing single country exhibitions in each other countries, said Ambassador of Spain to Pakistan Carlos Morales.

During a meeting with Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) Vice President Usman Rauf, Diplomatic Affairs & Foreign Trade Delegation Committee Chairman Sohail Bin Rasheed and Executive Member Jawad Asghar, the ambassador said that Pakistani exports had recorded a phenomenal increase of 44 percent immediately after the grant of GSP plus status to Pakistan by European Union (EU) in 2014.

"Similarly next year 24 percent increase was documented which reduced to 5 percent during next year", he said and added that during last year 12 percent increase was witnessed.

He said that mainly Pakistani exports are restricted to textile and hence Pakistan should diversify its export base to further increase its exports particularly in Information Technology and food sector. He told that European Countries including Spain have developed their agriculture sector which has now been declared as an industry.

He said that Pakistan produce a large number of agricultural products but it lacks processing and value-addition.

He said that Pakistan has potential to develop its agricultural and livestock sector to give a quantum jump to its exports. "However for this purpose efficient food processing is imperative", he added. Carlos Morales said that he will visit Faisalabad in the middle of July to personally review the investment opportunities in this city.

He also welcomed a proposal of FCCI to send a trade delegation to Spain and assured to fully facilitate them in addition to arranging their meeting with their Spanish counterparts.

Usman Rauf said that Faisalabad is the third largest city of Pakistan which is second in revenue generation.

He said that it has 6000 members within its fold and most of them belong to the textile sector but other sectors are also contributing their due share in the overall economic growth of Pakistan.

Engineer Sohail Bin Rasheed requested the Spanish ambassador to help Pakistan in technology transfer and launching joint venture in agriculture sector.

He said that Pakistan is a major producer of milk, meat, vegetables and fruits which could be use to produce a chain of other high value food products. He said that fourth round of bilateral consultative meeting between Pakistan and Spain was held in February this year.

Tehmina Janjua Secretary Foreign Affairs participated in it while the Spanish Secretary of State also represented his country in this meeting.

He welcomed the decisions of this meeting and hoped that these would have positive, futuristic and productive impacts on our economies.

He also invited Spanish Ambassador Carlos Morales to visit Faisalabad and told that M3 Industrial Estate has lots of potential for foreign investors and Spanish investors should also avail from these opportunities.

He told that World Bank has declared Faisalabad as best city regarding "ease of doing businesses" and hence it is best destination for foreign investors.

He also welcomed the appointment of Commercial Attaché in the Spanish Embassy and hoped that he will play a major role in enhancing bilateral trade between two countries.

He further told that FCCI is planning to send a trade delegation to Spain by the end of July or September and requested Spanish Ambassador to facilitate them by arranging their meetings with the potential Spanish investors.