LAHORE: Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan Greg Giokas on Tuesday pledged technical assistance and full support to ensure the easy access of Pakistani business community to Canadian markets.
Talking to business community here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he vowed to make all out efforts to boost mutual trade, saying that the time was ripe to strengthen further the economic relations.
The High Commissioner said that Canada was desirous of increasing its bilateral trade and investment as potential for cooperation existed in a number of sectors, asserting that energy and agriculture were the areas in which cooperation could lead to a win-win situation for the two countries. He said the High Commission would continue to assist business people and organisations seeking to strengthen Canada-Pakistan economic relations and commercial ties, as well as the Pakistanis and Canadians interested in expanding cooperation in a wide range of fields.
Canadian High Commissioner said Pakistan had a lot of natural resources including vast agricultural and mineral base, however, it needed structural reforms in education, skill development and taxation. Pakistan was considered as a middle income country and Canada wanted to see it peaceful, prosperous and progressive, he maintained. “Under the WTO, we must focus on developing its competency through trainings and skill development of the manpower especially in agriculture. We would have to improve our quality, yield and certification of our produce,” he added. Giokas noted that Pakistan government needed due consultations with businessmen and other stakeholders to come with practical policies for developing and putting agriculture sector on modern line assuring high yield for benefit of the country and its large farming community. It needed comprehensive policies and their full implementation.
The Canadian High Commissioner said that his country had focused on tariff regime, and initiated tariff reforms leading to preferential tariffs since 2010 and Pakistani business community should avail these tariff cuts.
He shared his country’s experiences regarding opening of economy and trade especially with its neighbouring countries, asserting that majority of Canadian people showed strong negative reaction and became a controversial issue when Canada signed free trade agreement (FTA) with United States. However, the result came totally different. It helped generate a great economic activity in Canada and now we have also huge trade with US. He advocated that Pakistan should open its economy particularly for the neighbours, and “We should find deficiencies and fundamentally review our structural policies to benefit from the emerging changes on global economic scenario.”
He suggested that the regional trade was being focused in the world and it had proved very beneficial for all the trading partners. While, LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari said that Canada had always supported Pakistan on various policy issues and had been among the leading countries to assist Pakistan in its efforts to acquire sustainable economic growth. The two-way trade statistics, he said, showed concern and hope both as the volume of trade done with Canada was minimal in terms of total trade of Canada and the ray of hope was the room for enhancing the current level of bilateral trade to a new level.
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