Head of Economic Affairs at the Embassy of Netherlands Rick Slettenhaar has said that a paradigm shift in Pak-Dutch relations from aid to trade will open new avenues of cooperation and collaboration between the two countries. He was addressing executive committee members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday.
He said that despite its small size Netherlands is included among the 20 biggest world economies. It is also ranked as the sixth biggest exporter and sixth largest investor in the world. “We are trying to establish new ties with Asia and particularly with Pakistan in the field of trade by promoting bilateral relations,” said Slettenhaar.
He said that Netherlands has allocated €26 million for development cooperation in Pakistan but the main focus is on the promotion of trade.
He mentioned various measures to promote trade and also explained in detail the FDOV Programme under which grants will be accorded for agricultural sustainability in Pakistan.
Responding to a question, he said that recession in European markets is almost over as various European countries including Netherlands had introduced fundamental economic reforms during the last four years.
He said that Netherlands can help Pakistan in water management and, in this connection, a Dutch mission is expected to visit Pakistan in November this year. Some leading Dutch companies will also accompany this delegation to explore the possibilities of cooperation and collaboration in this field.
Responding to a question regarding the appointment of Honorary Counsel General in Faisalabad and representation of FCCI in Pakistan-Netherlands Business Forum, he said that this issue will be taken up in the meeting being held in September this year.
FCCI President Engineer Suhail Bin Rashid said Netherlands is an important trading partner for Pakistan. “In fiscal year 2013, bilateral trade stood at $876.83 million almost in favour of Pakistan, we exported $627.32 million worth of goods to Netherlands while imports stood at $249.31 million.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2014.
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