The European Union will participate in the upcoming investment conference in Islamabad as the 27-nation bloc considers Pakistan a key trading partner with a lot of potential, says an EU representative.
Speaking to businessmen at the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Saturday, EU Head of Unit (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Maldives) David Tirr termed business contact with people in Pakistan important and said a European delegation would participate in FPCCI’s investment conference scheduled for December 9-11.
According to a press release issued by FPCCI, Tirr said Pakistan was the 52nd trading partner of EU with a lot of potential and also a big cotton producer and “for this reason we negotiate with Pakistan”.
Acknowledging the importance of Karachi, he said Karachi was a business hub where what businessmen thought was important.
Responding to a question about preferential trade facility under GSP-Plus scheme, the EU representative said “it is not an international agreement, it is a gift for developing countries.”
The issue of EU concessions for export of 75 items from Pakistan also came under discussion. These trade benefits need to be cleared from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), where Bangladesh has raised objection, fearing Pakistan may capture its market.
FPCCI Vice-President Muhammad Akbar Khan said EU remained Pakistan’s largest trading partner receiving 18% of Pakistan’s exports and contributing 9% to imports.
Overall trade volume between the two sides is worth $8.26 billion with a surplus of $729 million in Pakistan’s favour. Pakistan’s trade with EU mainly comprises textiles, followed by leather products.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2011.
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