LAHORE: Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan Tomas Rosander has said that two high-level Swedish delegations are visiting Pakistan this year to enhance bilateral trade and economic relations with their counterparts.
Addressing a ceremony at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Monday, the ambassador said that the first delegation was expected by middle of next month with a number of officials from companies involved in marketing major global brands.
LCCI President Engineer Sohail Lashari presented address of welcome while Vice President Kashif Anwar, former senior vice presidents Ejaz A Mumtaz and Sheikh Muhammad Arshad, Executive Committee Members Mian Zahid Javaid, Baber Mehmood Chaudhry, Talha Tayyab Butt, Mian Tasharraf Javaid, Mumshad Ali and Chaudhry Muhammad Aslam also spoke on the occasion.
Ambassador Tomas said that the first Swedish delegation headed by the speaker of Swedish parliament would consist of businessmen from small and medium enterprises who were anxious to expand their businesses in Pakistan. He said that National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq had extended invitation to his Swede counterpart for this visit. He said that the second delegation relating to environment issues was expected later this year.
He noted that security issues, energy shortage and environmental issues were hampering expansion of trade ties between Pakistan and Sweden. However, he was appreciative of the initiatives being taken by the present government to overcome these issues and expressed optimism that Pakistan would soon become a land of opportunities.
He said that presence of Swedish companies in Pakistan indicated our good bilateral trade relations and their successful operations would help convince other companies to come and invest here.
LCCI President Sohail Lashari called for more business-to-business interaction between the two countries and sought the ambassador’s help in this regard.
He said that the days were gone when the ambassadors were used to look after diplomatic affairs only. “Now they have to take care of economic ties as well; therefore, the role of Swedish Embassy to achieve the desired results is of key importance,” he added.
He called for enhancing cooperation to arrange an exhibition or a delegation’s visit to Sweden for exploring business opportunities.
The LCCI president said that the volume of bilateral trade between Pakistan and Sweden was not picking up and that Pakistan had been experiencing trade deficit. Therefore, he said, increase in imports from Pakistan could create a win-win situation for both of the countries.
Engineer Lashari also said that Sweden should consider increasing its imports from Pakistan, particularly our agricultural products because Pakistan’s share in Sweden’s imports was quite negligible while Pakistan had vast potential of producing organic and inorganic agricultural products with best competitive rates in the international market.
He urged the ambassador to tell investors and importers of his country that Pakistan was a safe and secure country for direct foreign investment and that there was huge scope for investment in the fields of tourism development, agriculture and livestock development along with technology transfer.
He said that the Pakistani government and business community were endeavouring hard to dispel the negative propaganda against the country.
Engineer Lashari also called for sector specific joint studies in various fields and said that these could help two countries further enhance their bilateral trade.
Major exports of Pakistan to Sweden include textile products, rice, sports goods, vegetable extracts, carpets and articles of wood but that these exports form very insignificant segment of Sweden’s import while Pakistan’s major imports from Sweden are paper and paperboard, electronic appliances, vessels for breaking up, newsprint rolls/sheets, electrical equipment, copper foil and pulp of wood.
Engineer Lashari informed the visiting dignitary that the LCCI had achieved a unique milestone by establishing a Mediation Centre in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC). He said: “We have well-trained experts who can provide mediation services in order to settle any trade dispute out of court. I think this centre will serve as a confidence booster for Swedish business community to positively consider Pakistan for trade expansion.”
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