Belgium ambassador seeks to boost bilateral trade ties with Pakistan


KARACHI: The Ambassador of Belgium, Frederick Verheyden has informed that a multisectoral trade delegation from Belgium, comprising representatives of 12 leading companies, was currently on a visit to Pakistan to explore opportunities of enhancing trade between the business communities of the two countries.

Exchanging views with KCCI Office bearers during his visit to KCCI, the Belgian Ambassador added that many Pakistani companies visited Belgium last month and now the Belgian delegation was also here within weeks to hold meetings with business communities in Karachi and Lahore in order to explore trade enhancement opportunities in engineering, information & communication technology, steel, aluminium, healthcare, metallic & wood scrap recycling, logs & timber, dairy products, cargo logistics, potato processing and industrial equipment.

Abid Husain, Trade Commissioner, Economic & Commercial Representation, Embassy of Belgium, Ms. Karine de Vleeschouwer, Area Manager Central & South Asia of Flanders Investment & Trade, Younus Mohammad Bashir, President KCCI, Zia Ahmed Khan, Senior Vice President KCCI, Mohammad Naeem Sharif, Vice President KCCI, Majyd Aziz, Former President KCCI and Managing Committee members attended the meeting.

The Belgian Ambassador pointed out that Belgium, being the fifth largest trading partner of Pakistan within the European Union, was keen to enhance trade and investment ties with Pakistan. Referring to Pakistan-Belgian trade volume, he said, “We can do more and we are trying to increase and stimulate the existing trade figures.”

Earlier, while welcoming the Belgian Ambassador, President KCCI Younus Mohammad Bashir said that the Karachi Chamber was keen to strengthen trade ties and exploring new bilateral trade prospects with Belgium.

Younus Bashir further pointed out that law and order situation in Karachi was not an issue any more, thanks to the untiring efforts made by Law Enforcing Agencies in effectively dealing with serious lawlessness and restoring peace to a certain extent. “Karachi city, which contributes more than 60 percent revenue to the national exchequer, is an attractive place for foreign investors, who can surely earn maximum profits by setting up their businesses or undertaking joint ventures here”, he added.

Commenting on trade ties between the two countries, Younus Bashir said that Pakistan and Belgium have been enjoying healthy and cordial relations but the existing trade volume does not depict the actual potential between the two countries.

He noted that during Fiscal Year 2015, Pakistan exported goods worth $496.01 million against $ 471.56 million in the same period last year, showing an increase of five percent. The imports from Belgium amounted to $328.01 million as against $427.76 million in Fiscal Year 2014, indicating a decline of 23 percent. Although the trade balance was in favour of Pakistan but the trade volume of slightly above $800 million, was very low which needs special attention from both sides, President KCCI added.

He said that KCCI wants to promote business, mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and Belgium. “We also want to promote Belgian investment in Pakistan and do everything for the development of Pakistan-Belgium business cooperation.”

He further stressed the need to enhance cooperation between KCCI and the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce in order to pave way for improved trade relations between the two countries. In this regard, both chambers should obtain, evaluate and circulate trade and investment related data and information and economic statistics among members in the mutual interests of trade and investment between the two countries, he advised.

Younus Bashir also invited Belgian companies to participate in 13th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony exhibition scheduled to be organized in the month of April next year. The three-day long event will provide an excellent opportunity to Belgian businessmen and industrialists to showcase their products and create strong linkages with the business community of Karachi by holding B2B meetings in a cordial atmosphere.