LAHORE - Belgian Ambassador Frederic Verheyden Wednesday urged Pakistani businessmen to avail expertise of Belgium in various sectors.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The Ambassador said that both countries should identify more areas for cooperation and should also introduce more tradable items to enhance mutual trade volume. He said that Belgian companies have shown keen interest in Pakistani market. He urged the Pakistani businessmen to start joint ventures with their Belgian counterparts. He said that Pakistan should take full advantage of best geographical position of Belgium in European Union. He said there should be more interaction between the business communities of the two countries to enhance trade and economic cooperation. He said that Pakistan is the beneficiary of GSP Plus Status. Implementation of all conventions under GSP Plus Status will help Pakistani businessmen to avail trade opportunities in Belgium.

CEO Wallonia Export & Investment Agency Mrs Pascale Delcomminette gave a detailed overview of Belgian economy saying that Belgium is enjoying great importance as it is geographical center of European Union. She said that its productivity is highest in the world, export-to-GDP ratio is 85 percent and foreign trade has played a vital role in economic progress of Belgium. She said that Belgium is fifth largest trade partner of Pakistan in European Union and its companies have keen interest in making mutual trade ties more stronger. She said that Pakistani businessmen should develop strong liaison with their Belgian counterparts and establish distribution centers and warehouses there. She said that Belgium is a gateway to Germany, Holland, France and beyond. She said that catalogue and trade exhibitions can help explore potential of the two countries.

Meanwhile, Ambassador of Belgium, FrédéricVerheyden along with a trade delegation comprising of CEO, Wallonia Export-Investment Agency (AWEX) accompanied by her team visited Punjab Board of Investment and Trade.

CEO PBIT Jehanzeb Burana briefed the delegation on various sectors and availability of numerous potential opportunities for investors in Punjab. He further pointed out that Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are being set up in all the provinces and regions of Pakistan. The immense potential for collaboration majorly existed in the areas of food and agri business, food processing, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, textile, I.T., construction and glass manufacturing.

The Ambassador thanked PBIT team for welcoming them and highlighting the prospective opportunities present in Punjab. He stated that some Belgian companies are successfully doing business in Pakistan, of which a Belgian Pharmaceutical company is notable.The delegation showed keen interest in dairy and livestock, halal food and high tech start-ups. They focused on creating linkages between the incubators from both sides for further collaboration, considering it as a concrete step towards building a trade relation between Pakistan and Belgium to promote startups that are looking to explore the international markets. They also expressed a desire to develop Knowledge/Scientific Parks.

CEO PBIT assured the delegation of complete facilitation to promote valuable communication, collaboration and coordination for the expansion of the Belgium Investment and Commercial Engagements in Punjab. He agreed to have joint investment conferences, trade fairs and exhibitions leading to B2B meetings so that business community can fully benefit from each other ensuring economic growth, job creation, prosperity and peace on a worldwide scale.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two bodies for working together towards a common goal of promoting investments between Pakistan & Belgium.