President Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Muhammad Haroon Agar has welcomed the paradigm policy- shift to focus on trade with Pakistan in contrast to its policy of development aid.
Haroon Agar said the new policy of Netherlands will multiply the reciprocal trade volume between two friendly countries.
He said Pakistan endeavours to achieve GSP Plus status in European Union in which the Dutch Government’s support is imperative.
According to a KCCI statement here on Saturday the Chamber chief while exchanging views with First Secretary/ Head of Economic Affairs, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Robert Dresen, at a meeting stated that Pakistan and Netherlands enjoy deep friendly relations and have common views on international and regional Issues.
The Netherlands, Haroon Agar said helped Pakistan in various social and educational projects, however, the business community appreciates the Dutch policy-shift from aid to trade, which has been aspired by KCCI for long. It will act as a cornerstone to promote entrepreneurship development in Pakistan.
He pointed out that in 1982, Pakistan and the Netherlands had signed a bilateral Double Taxation Agreement, to promote business activities in both the countries. Pakistan is the 6th largest non-European economic partner and world’s 13th largest economic and trading partner of the Netherlands, he said.
Pakistan and the Netherlands established bilateral relations soon after the independence of Pakistan. Netherlands is among top five investors in Pakistan and had invested about US$ 8 million till 2012.
Pakistan invites Netherlands investor to come and invest in textile, energy, infrastructure.
There is huge potential of enhancing Pakistani exports of textile, mangoes, rice and other products to Netherlands. Pakistan imports boilers, organic chemicals, plastic and its articles, iron and steel products, technical and medical equipment etc.
Serious efforts are required to enhance bilateral trade. Exchange of business delegations, participation in exhibitions, exchange of trade information is vital, the KCCI said.
Geographical both the countries enjoy an important location and can act as a gateway for trade to many countries. Joint efforts are required to benefit from this edge. The statement said Haroon Agar also opined that The Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) may resume its operations in Pakistan.
KCCI can sign MoU with Amsterdam Chamber of Commerce for mutual cooperation, Haroon Agar said. He also invited Dutch exhibitors to participate in KCCI annual `My-Karachi, Oasis of Harmony’ Exhibition scheduled to be held in July 2013 which is a showcase and B2B & B2C platform wherein local and foreign exhibitors participate.
KCCI Chief assured the Karachi Chamber’s best support and cooperation for match-making with their Pakistan counterparts, particularly KCCI members with the Dutch businesspersons.
First Secretary/ Head of Economic Affairs, of the Dutch Embassy Robert Dresen, stated that the Netherlands has made paradigm shift in its policy from development/aid to trade which will result in enhancement in trade volume between the two countries.
The Netherlands and Pakistan enjoy good political relations. Huge potential of trade exist between two countries which is yet to be explored.
He said the Netherlands was amongst the top 20 economies of the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is four times the size of Pakistan with a population roughly the size of Karachi.
The Netherlands is the fifth largest exporter of the world wherein Pakistan has a negligible share of only 0.2 per cent. Netherlands is also the 2nd largest exporter of agro-goods, and the 9th largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) source as well as recipient. Philips, Unilever and Royal Shell are some famous investors in Pakistan. The country has an open economy with diversified international trade in the areas of general trading, financial sector, logistics, transportation, agriculture and specialised manufacturing.
The Netherlands’ bilateral ties with Pakistan encompassed over 50 years. Current bilateral trade is around $ 800 Million annually which often tilts to and fro in favour of two countries. Netherlands desires to uplift trade and envisage new areas including shipping, ports development, water purification, dairy farming, agriculture, wind, bio- gas energy, solar, coal energy, offshore energy solutions etc. equally beneficial for both countries.
Pakistan can avail the benefits of Dutch expertise in energy saving/ energy efficiency as energy conservation is crucial for businesses, he added.
He said that Netherlands also have expertise in water management/ effluent treatment/ industrial process. Options are available for joint ventures in water treatment/ industrial effluent treatment and environment protection do exist.
Pakistan’s major exports to the Netherlands include textiles, while there was a huge potential for imports in the areas of livestock and agriculture, he said, while Pakistan imports from Netherlands chemicals, machinery, agricultural inputs/ seeds etc.
Commercial Officer, Consulate General of the Netherlands in Karachi, Peter Felix, Senior Vice President KCCI, Shamim Firpo, Vice President Nasir Mehmood and Managing Committee Members also participated in the meeting.
Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2013