KARACHI: Switzerland aims to develop stronger trade ties with Pakistan while supporting the country’s international standing, announced the Ambassador of Switzerland to Pakistan, his excellency Christoph Bubb while inaugurating the Swiss exhibition, ‘Made in Switzerland’ at a local hotel yesterday.
The event, with 40 participants and 54 stalls, is one of the largest exhibitions being organised in Karachi since 1983.
Speaking on the first day of the event, Bubb highlighted Switzerland’s importance to Pakistan.
“According to the latest data provided by the State Bank of Pakistan, Switzerland is now the second largest foreign direct investor after the United States,” said Bubb. “The aim of the show is to present a variety of Swiss products and companies to Pakistan for more trade opportunities.”
He added that foreign diplomats participated in order to eliminate the negative image of Pakistan.
While speaking about bilateral ties, he said that trade and investment were the two fields that Switzerland was focusing on, keeping Pakistan in mind.
Although trade between both sides has not been overwhelming, foreign direct investment has been substantial.
Swiss Consul General Didier Boschung said that trade from Switzerland had decreased since 2008 due to rupee depreciation. However, the investment sector had strengthened and over a period of six years, bilateral trade volume has amounted to $1.5 billion. Boschung said that imports from Switzerland to Pakistan mainly comprised pharmaceuticals, chemicals, machinery and watches.
President of Swiss Business Council (SBC) and Chief Executive Officer of Clariant Pakistan Limited Mujtaba Rahim said that food processing technology was one of the markets being targeted by Switzerland in the country, adding that the country’s expertise in the food industry could help Pakistan.
Rahim said that the objective of the exhibition was to portray a softer image of Pakistan and to build a business-friendly environment to attract foreign investment.
“We have the support of the Switzerland embassy in Islamabad and Karachi, and now Switzerland Global Enterprise (SGE) has extended its support to set a higher standard for trade opportunities,” added Rahim.
Speaking about the GSP Plus status, Rahim said that Pakistan had relatively better production facilities than other Asian countries. He added that the GSP Plus status would help the economy prosper and will also pave the way for a textile industry boom in 2014.
Following the inauguration, the exhibition provided a concrete platform for big players of the business sector to display their products. Some of the leading companies included Novartis, SGS Pakistan, Nestle along with leaders in the watch industry namely Tag Heuer, Rado and Swiss whereas the airline industry included Swiss International Airlines.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th, 2013.
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