ISLAMABAD: Colombia, with a growing focus on Asia for deepening economic relations, is keen to step up trade with Pakistan, says Colombian Ambassador Fernando Panesso.
Interacting with the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), Panesso said though Colombia established diplomatic ties with Pakistan in 1980, bilateral trade between the two countries stood negligible and needed improvement.
“Colombia is producing 70% of energy through hydroelectric power and could cooperate with Pakistan in this area.”
He pointed out that Colombia was a major exporter of oil, coal, coffee and flowers and both countries had the potential to cooperate in many areas including agriculture, textile, chemicals, minerals, gems and jewellery, technology transfer and infrastructure development. Saying that China was emerging as a major trading partner of Colombia after the US, he suggested that Pakistan should also accelerate its efforts to promote trade in order to achieve good results for its economy.
Colombia has a free visa arrangement with Turkey and Pakistani businessmen could also visit the country via Turkey with ease.
Speaking on the occasion, ICCI Acting President Muhammad Shakeel Munir said Pakistan was producing high-quality marble products and its textile products were also famous in the international market for their good quality. He asked Colombia to explore the possibility of importing these products and suggested that the embassy of Colombia in Turkey should facilitate the visits of Pakistani delegations.
Separately, Namibia Ambassador Ringo F Abed also paid a visit to the ICCI and expressed interest in expanding commerce with Pakistan on mutually beneficial grounds.
He said Namibia was a politically stable and peaceful country, taking every measure to create a welcome environment for business activities.
“Namibia is endowed with a lot of mineral resources. Many Chinese investors are already looking at the country for investment and Pakistan must also explore the potential of business opportunities there.”
He identified multiple sectors such as hospitality industry, tourism, agriculture and livestock where Pakistan could invest. He also pointed out that Namibia was facing a shortage of skilled manpower especially doctors, engineers, technicians and nurses and suggested that Pakistan should help the African country in preparing a well-trained and skilled human resource.
The ICCI acting president said Pakistan was focusing on non-traditional markets and wanted to improve trade and exports to the entire southern Africa region.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2014.