KARACHI: Ambassador of Netherlands, Marcel de Vink has stressed that it is the right time for Pakistani business community to diversify their exports to European Union and seek new opportunities in order to fully benefit from EU’s GSP Plus scheme with zero tariff barriers.
Talking to the office bearers and Managing Committee members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) during his visit to the chamber on Saturday, the Ambassador said that trade volume between the two countries stood at US$800 million. “I will be striving to ensure that the existing trade volume reaches US$1 billion during my stay in Pakistan as the Netherlands Ambassador”, he added.
President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki, Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Idrees, Chairman of KCCI’s Diplomatic Affairs Sub-Committee, Abdul Jabbar Dalal, Chairman of KCCI’s Law and Order Sub-Committee, Haji Asif Chamdia, Zafar Saeed Baghpatee, Ateeq ur Rehman, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan and others were also present at the meeting whereas the Netherlands Ambassador was also accompanied by the Honorary Consul General of Kingdom of the Netherlands in Karachi, Tarek M. Khan and Commercial Officer, Peter A. Felix.
Ambassador De Vink further said that efforts were being made to encourage Dutch companies to invest in Pakistan. “We would like to do more for Pakistan and encourage people to see for themselves what Pakistan offers”, he said, adding that Pakistan needs to focus on effectively dealing with some of the serious challenges being faced by the country today, particularly the law and order situation, economic instability and the negative perception about Pakistan. “Bad news coming out of Pakistan along with economic instability scares people away”, De Vink said.
He further stated that trade volume remains almost balanced between Pakistan and the Netherlands, which is a good sign but it was his country’s desire to further enhance imports from Pakistan, which are likely to improve due to GSP Plus status to Pakistan.
The Netherlands Ambassador, while referring to Karachi city’s bustling commercial and trading activities, said that Karachi city is undoubtedly the most vibrant city of Pakistan, which holds immense potential and offers substantial investment opportunities.
De Vink said that during his stay, he will be working on four areas including Energy, Water, Logistics and Agriculture as many companies in the Netherlands are keen to do business in these sectors.
A delegation from the Agriculture sector of the Netherlands, which will be headed by the Vice Minister of the Netherlands, will soon be arriving in Pakistan to explore Pakistan’s trade potential and investment opportunities available in the agriculture sector of Pakistan.
To enhance business-to-business and chambers-to-chambers interaction between Pakistan and the Netherlands, the Ambassador advised KCCI to arrange a small delegation to the Netherlands so that they could enhance interaction with various chambers in the Netherlands and explore ways and means for undertaking joint ventures. “Exchange of delegations can certainly pave way for enhanced trade relations between the two countries,” he added.
Touching upon the Netherlands and Pakistan’s relations, he said that both countries are enjoying excellent relations since 1948 when the Netherlands opened its Embassy in Pakistan. He recalled that Pakistan actively extended support to help the flood victims in the Netherlands in 1953 whereas the Netherlands also came forward and supported the victims of devastating earthquake suffered by Pakistan in 2005 and the floods in 2010 that clearly indicates the strong solidarity between the two countries.
Honorary Consul General of Kingdom of the Netherlands, Tarek M. Khan appreciated KCCI for playing the role of a bridge and extending continuous support to the Netherlands Consulate from time to time, which has helped a lot in strengthening trade ties between the two countries.
Earlier, while welcoming the Ambassador of Kingdom of the Netherlands, President KCCI, Abdullah Zaki briefed him about KCCI’s functioning and its vibrant role in promoting trade ties with many countries around the world.
To further enhance trade between Pakistan and the Netherlands, President KCCI stressed the need for exchanging trade delegations between the business communities of both countries. He also advised The Ambassador to play his role in not only enhancing trade ties between the two countries but also clarifying the negative perception about Pakistan as the law and order situation was not as worst as being exaggerated by the media.
Abdullah Zaki particularly appreciated Kingdom of the Netherlands for always supporting and voting in favor of Pakistan in EU’s decision to grant GSP Plus.
Speaking on the occasion, Vice President KCCI, Muhammad Idrees informed the Ambassador about KCCI’s My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony 2014 exhibition, which will be staged in a vivid manner and is likely to be attended by almost one million visitors. Referring to the immense international participation in KCCI’s exhibition, Muhammad Idrees asked the Ambassador to help KCCI in promoting this exhibition in the Netherlands and encourage the Dutch business community to be part of this event.
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