Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi, Ambassador of Pakistan to Belgium, the European Union and Luxembourg said Pakistan was emerging not only economically but also socially and politically and the recently held elections have proven strengthening democratic values in the country.
Addressing the Second Pakistan – Belgium Business and Investment Opportunities Conference, jointly organized by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) and Brussels Enterprises Commerce and Industry in Brussels, he said that with improvements in law and order situation and tackling of energy crises to a great extent, people of Pakistan have started looking into expanding business ties with the outside world and the world has also started approaching Pakistan, a press release received on Friday said.
A 30-member delegation of RCCI was led by its president Zahid Latif Khan and businessmen from different regions of Belgium participated in the conference.
The RCCI and BECI had signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the conclusion of First Business and Investment Conference held in Brussels in May this year. Both the chambers are keen on promoting trade and investment for the mutual benefit of the two countries.
The ambassador expects a surge in the number of tourists visiting Pakistan, as 2017 saw an increase of 30% in the number tourists visiting Pakistan.
Ambassador Hashmi appreciated the initiative of RCCI for bringing business delegations to Belgium on a regular basis.
Highlighting the significance of Belgium in Pakistan’s trade scenario she informed that, as Pakistan’s 9th largest export destination globally, Belgium remained important for exploring more opportunities for business and investment.
She said a second visit of RCCI within two months reflected seriousness from both sides to increase trade relations.
Pakistan’s exports to Belgium have increased by 6% since 2015 and stood at 421 Million EUR in 2017. Pakistan’s exports mainly constitute home textiles, surgical goods, sports goods, apparel, leather, cotton and food items especially rice. Ambassador Hashmi called for diversifying exports and also to tap opportunities for investments in Pakistan.
Talking about areas of collaboration, Ambassador Hashmi said that Belgium could help Pakistan by transfer of technology in the fields of pharmaceuticals, agriculture machinery, dairy products, processing of fruits and vegetables, fisheries and mineral development.
Besides this huge potential exists for technical assistance from Belgium in port handling, dredging, science and technology, she added.
Secretary General BECI Jan de Brabanter welcomed the delegation of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In his presentation he pointed out that due to its central location Belgium served as the heart of Europe for exports to other destinations.
President RCCI Zahid Latif Khan in his address informed about the business and investment opportunities in various sectors in Pakistan.
He referred to the Investment Policy of Pakistan which allows 100% foreign ownership in manufacturing and social sectors and exemption from customs duty on import of plant, machinery and equipment under various schemes.
He further pointed out that Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were being set up in all the provinces and regions of Pakistan including AJK, GB and FATA.
Khan said immense potential for investment and collaboration existed in the areas of energy, light engineering, steel manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, textile, food processing, IT and halal food industry.
During the conference documentaries on ‘Emerging Pakistan’ and ‘Investment Regime of Pakistan’ were also screened. Ambassador Hashmi also presented Pakistan-made official football of FIFA tournament ‘Telstar’ to Secretary General BECI as a memento.