Pakistan can benefit from Belgian expertise in food processing, pharmaceutical sectors: Envoy

Ambassador of Belgium Frederick Verheyden has said that Belgian Companies can assist Pakistani Business and Industrial community in numerous sectors of the economy, particularly the food processing and pharmaceutical sectors in which Pakistan can benefit from Belgian expertise. Speaking at the inauguration of Belgian Companies’ Catalogue Exhibition at Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Thursday, the Ambassador added that some Belgian companies were successfully doing business in Pakistan, of which a Belgian pharmaceutical company was doing good business. Plenty of opportunities were also available in other sectors for Belgian businessmen and investors particularly in Karachi city, he added.

President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Senior Vice President KCCI Asif Nisar, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Younus Soomro, Trade Commissioner of Belgian Embassy Abid Husain and KCCI Managing Committee members were also present on the occasion. Frederick Verheyden further said that Pakistan-Belgian trade and economic ties have been gradually improving and were likely to exceed further in future.

Terming Karachi as ‘a vibrant city’, Belgian Ambassador said that this was an important city which offers ample opportunities to Belgian investors who were keen to enhance trade and investment in this region. He underscored the need to identify more areas for cooperation and also introduce more tradable items to enhance mutual trade volume. Commenting on Belgian Companies Catalogue Exhibition which displayed more than 100 catalogues of industrial equipment, alternate energy, solar energy, chemicals, food stuff and agriculture sectors etc., the Envoy said that this was the best way to introduce the diverse Belgian businesses as they don’t need to come all the way to Pakistan to introduce their products and services. “It is encouraging to see that this exhibition has triggered a lot of attention at KCCI”, said Frederick Verheyden.

To a query regarding Pakistan’s business climate and government policies, Belgian Ambassador said that Pakistani government was working hard to deal with corruption and has also been taking steps for ease of doing business. “I hope this continues as it will improve the business climate here”, he added.

Earlier, President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo, in his welcome address, said that Karachi, being the economic and financial hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to the Business and Industrial community of Belgium. “KCCI is keen to strengthen trade ties and explore new bilateral trade prospects with Belgium”, he said, “We believe Pakistan’s improved relations and enhanced trade with the business and industrial community of Belgium would surely help in dealing with the economic crisis and ensure prosperity for both the countries.”

Commenting on existing trade ties between Pakistan and Belgium, Shamim Firpo said both countries have been enjoying cordial and healthy bilateral relations and it was really heartening that Pakistan and Belgium have agreed to boost bilateral trade and investment relations. “During Fiscal Year 2016, Pakistan exported goods worth $359 million whereas the imports from Belgium amounted to $237 million. Although the trade balance is in favor of Pakistan, but it has descended which needs special attention and a more aggressive strategy from both sides”, he added. He also underscored the need to intensify trade and investment promotional activities not only in Pakistan but also in Belgium. There is a need to reinvigorate the mechanism of Joint Commission and encourage close contacts between the private sectors.

President KCCI informed the Belgian Ambassador that Karachi Chamber was planning to send a high-powered delegation to Belgium in the month of July 2017 in order to explore opportunities of enhancing trade and improve interactions between the business communities of the two countries. He sought Belgian Ambassador’s support and cooperation to make the proposed delegation’s visit successful.

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