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Pakistan pays due importance to Eastern Europe: Khurram Dastgir

Pakistan pays due importance to Eastern Europe: Khurram Dastgir

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is pursuing a policy to enhance trade and investment by focusing on Eastern and Central Europe in addition to the traditional Western European markets, said the Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir during his meeting with Miroslav Lajčák, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign & European Affairs of the Slovak Republic.

Dastgir appreciated Slovak support for Pakistan in obtaining GSP Plus trade preferences from European Union and proposed that both countries may establish a Joint Trade Committee which would provide a regular forum to identify items of mutual interest and explore areas of economic cooperation.

He informed the delegation that formation of joint ventures, especially in GSP Plus related sectors (textile and apparel, leather, footwear, ethanol, carpets and surgical goods) would yield mutual benefits for both sides. Slovak entrepreneurs would yield the advantages of cheaper raw materials and abundant skilled and semi-skilled work force in Pakistan, their Pakistani counterparts would benefit from modern business practices, introduction of new technologies and easier access to Central and Eastern Europe.

The proposed Joint Trade Committee will work to formulate a strategic plan for a quantum increase in bilateral trade and identification and removal of non-tariff barriers. It will enhance collaboration between trade promotion organisations of two countries in holding specialized exhibitions in each other’s country and exchange of commercial intelligence.

The Minister described the delegation about the enormous trade opportunities that growing Pakistani markets provide to foreign investors. He also talked about the ease of doing business in Pakistan and the policies Government has put forth to facilitate trade and investment in the country. The Minister said that Pakistan provides duty free access for import of technology and machinery to set up alternate energy plants with no restrictions on remittances on profits and a liberal power purchase template. He invited the Slovak companies to invest in Pakistan in energy, mining, agro-technology and food processing sectors.

Talking about the endeavours the Government undertook to eliminate energy crisis the Minister said that huge investments have been made since June 2013 in thermal, hydel, nuclear and alternate energy sectors. The demand of energy in a growing country like Pakistan is continuously rising which provides vast opportunities for foreign investors to benefit through investment in the nascent alternate energy sector.

Slovak Deputy Prime Minister informed the meeting that Slovakia is an export oriented economy with a GDP growth rate of 4.5%-highest rate of growth in European Union.  The new EU members have dynamic markets which provide diverse trade opportunities to their trading partners. The Deputy PM also informed the Minister that Slovakia will become the President of EU during the second half of 2016 which will further strengthen the relations between Pakistan and Slovakia.