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Belgian envoy keen to strengthen partnership with Pakistan

KARACHI: Ambassador of Belgium Philippe Bronchain, while expressing his keen to reinforce and strengthen partnership between Pakistan and Belgium, stressed the need to enhance trade and investment cooperation between the two countries as there are lots of things that can be done in different sectors of the economy which would prove beneficial for Belgium and Pakistan.

Exchanging views at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), the Ambassador added that the business & industrial community of Karachi must look in to the possibility of exploring trade and investment opportunities in Belgium which although was not a huge country but very open and has the second largest port in Europe along with excellent pharmaceutical and other major industries.

Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Belgium in Pakistan Abid Husain, President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President Arshad Islam, Vice President Shahid Ismail, Chairman of KCCI’s Diplomatic Missions & Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Shamoon Zaki and managing committee members were also present at the meeting.

The Ambassador said that trade, investment, economic and friendly relations between the two countries are very important to him and he has a mission to make these stronger. “We would like to contribute towards further promoting mutual understanding between our two countries and we also need to promote the image and perception about Pakistan”, he added.

He was of the opinion that both countries must identify more areas for cooperation and introduce more tradable items to enhance the existing trade volume while Pakistani business community should benefit from the geographical location of Belgium in European Union. There should be more interaction between the business communities of the two countries to enhance trade and economic cooperation, he stressed.

Earlier President KCCI Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, while welcoming the Ambassador, pointed out that during FY18, Pakistan exported goods worth $666.4 million while the imports from Belgium amounted to $518.6 million.

He noted that in Dec 2014, KCCI organized Belgian Companies’ Catalogues Exhibition in collaboration with the Embassy of Belgium in its efforts to promote bilateral trade which was followed by another Belgian Companies’ Catalogue Exhibition held in March 2017 at KCCI.

Agha Shahab said that Belgium is one of Pakistan’s largest trading partner within EU. Belgium has extended consistent support that helped Pakistan acquire GSP Plus status in 2013. It has also provided humanitarian assistance during the floods in Pakistan in 2010. “Governor Punjab recently visited Brussels to help getting extension of GSP Plus status till 2022. A decision on this vital issue is expected in March 2020. Cooperation in education is also on the rise as there are increasing number of partnerships between universities in Belgium and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan”, he added.

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