KARACHI - Ambassador of Netherlands Jeannette Seppen on Monday stressed that the GSP plus granted by European Union offers tremendous opportunities to both Pakistan and the Netherlands, which should not be missed.

“We can only encourage Pakistani traders to work closely with the government and all other stakeholders to ensure that all 27 conventions attached to GSP Plus are really implemented,” she said while exchanging views during her visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

The ambassador further said, “some well reputable international and Dutch NGOs are also here to support Pakistan when it comes to women rights, when it comes to freedom of expression and a number of other issues, particularly the labour rights and labour condition, which is an issue that is very close to our hearts.”

She underscored the need to make collective efforts to raise Pakistan’s image abroad and make this country an even more attractive market to buy from. Highlighting the Dutch interest in different sectors, she pointed out that there was a tremendous potential to enhance trade and investment cooperation and work together in the agriculture, dairy, livestock, horticulture, shipping, ports, maritime infrastructure, water management and the energy sector. “These are a few fields where Pakistan and Netherlands can grow a lot together, a lot is already going on and a lot more can be done, which is our firm conviction”, she added.

She said that Netherlands was very serious in enhancing trade ties with the business and industrial community of Karachi as Karachi and Netherlands were perhaps, at first sight, very different entities, but they are not that different. Many Dutch multinational companies including shipping companies were successfully operating from Karachi, whereas Dutch dredgers were also engaged in carrying out dredging at the Port Qasim. “Our ties go way back and there is a bright future ahead of us as we find ourselves in a very favourable environment”, she added.

Jeannette said that in spite of some pessimism, trade balance between Pakistan and the Netherlands remains very positive which is remarkable in the current economic circumstances.

Businessmen Group Chairman and KCCI former president Siraj Kassam Teli said that Netherlands was popular for its dairy products and it was heartening to note that some Dutch companies were efficiently working in the cattle farming businesses in Punjab and Sindh. “I am sure there is a lot we can do, which has to be done”, he added. He advised the Dutch ambassador to set some targets with particular focus on raising the existing trade volume by working collectively with the Karachi chamber.

KCCI President Shamim Ahmed Firpo, in his welcome remarks, said that Pakistan and Netherlands have been enjoying good trade relations as Pakistan’s export to Netherlands, during fiscal year 2015-16, was recorded at $555 million while its imports from Netherlands stood at $619 million. “I believe there is a need to make more efforts for further boosting of existing trade volume between the two friendly countries”, he opined.