ISLAMABAD  -  Ambassador of Norway Tore Nedrebo has said that his country was more interested in investment than trade in Pakistan as it was an important market of South Asian region. While addressing the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) here on Thursday, he said Norway was the 2nd largest investor in telecommunication field in Pakistan after China, adding that more Norwegian companies were taking interest in its market. However, current business climate and security situation in Pakistan were not encouraging for them, he added. He said Pakistan will have to make itself a predictable, secure and profitable destination to attract more Norwegian investment.

The Norwegian ambassador said that Telenor was the second largest cellular service provider in Pakistan with an investment of $3.5 billion and creation of 5000 direct jobs.

He said Norway was cooperating with Pakistan in two LNG terminals at Karachi and one Norwegian company was involved in a hydropower project in Swat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said balance of trade was in favour of Pakistan, as during 2015, Pakistan's exports to Norway were $78 million with imports from Norway $11 million.

He said Pakistan Embassy in Norway has to play a proactive role for convincing Norwegian investors to explore Pakistan.

 However, he said if any Norwegian company showed interest in Pakistan, his embassy would fully cooperate. He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be beneficial for Pakistan, adding that better growth of Pakistan's economy would make it more interesting to Norwegian investors.

On the occasion, ICCI President Khalid Iqbal Malik said that Pakistan and Norway have maintained good political relations since long that should be translated into growing trade and economic relations. He said the bilateral trade between both countries has not touched $100 million mark as yet despite the fact that both have good potential to enhance cooperation in many areas.

He said Norway was endowed with rich natural resources including petroleum, hydropower, forests and minerals and it should cooperate with Pakistan in hydropower generation, exploration of oil and gas and minerals. He said agriculture was another area where both countries could enhance cooperation. He said Pakistan could export food products including seafood, textiles, leather and many other products to Norway.

He said that 10 Norwegian companies, including Telenor, were doing successful business in Pakistan, which showed that Pakistan was a promising country for foreign investors. He said CPEC offered plenty of new business and investment opportunities to foreign investors and time was ripe for Norwegian investors to explore Pakistan for joint ventures and investment.