Implementation of GSP Plus Conventions to help Pakistan

Islamabad: Charles DELOGNE, Ambassador of Belgium to Pakistan said that the implementation of GSP Plus conventions, especially labor rights, human rights and environmental protection would help Pakistan to further improve its trade with EU countries.

He said this while addressing the business community during his visit to Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). Abid Hussain, Trade Commissioner of Belgium Embassy also accompanied him on the occasion.

The Envoy said that Belgium is the 5th largest trading partner of Pakistan in the EU and it is interested to further enhance cooperation with Pakistan in various sectors including trade, scientific research and education sectors. He said that the IMF agreement was key to Pakistan as it has provided more flexibility to it and added that Pakistan should ensure its implementation to save its economy from more problems. He said that PIA is in negotiations with the EU to reopen its flights and the start of PIA flights would facilitate Pakistan’s trade promotion with EU countries. He said that Pakistani educated and skilled workers can directly apply to Belgium companies and his embassy is ready to facilitate them in signing employment contracts in case of their selection by Belgium companies.

Speaking on the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Pakistan and Belgium enjoy cordial relations, but their bilateral trade of just over US$ 1 billion is not matching with their actual potential. He said that both countries should promote business linkages between their private sectors to explore new areas of promoting bilateral trade. He said that Belgium can also cooperate with Pakistan in agriculture, food processing, IT, renewable energy and construction sectors. He said that Pakistan is establishing many special economic zones under CPEC and investors of Belgium should explore joint ventures and investment in them. He assured that ICCI would like to work with the Belgium Embassy to further strengthen connectivity between private sectors of both countries.

Engr. Azhar ul Islam Zafar, Vice President ICCI said that the Stand-By Arrangement with the IMF would address the balance of payment issues of Pakistan and stressed that Belgium should share its expertise in achieving better economic development with Pakistan to improve our economy.

Zafar Bakhtawari, former President ICCI and Secretary General UBG said that Pakistan has suffered huge human and economic losses due to being the frontline country against war on terrorism and EU countries should cooperate with Pakistan in overcoming its current economic challenges.

Kashif Zaheer, Khalid Chaudhry, Aslam Khokhar, Ch. Irfan, Malik Shabbir, Akbar Siddiqui Chughtai, Ms. Nagina Khaleeque, Ms. Nasira Ali and others were also present on the occasion.

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