UK want to develop strong relationship with Pakistan, Baroness Warsi

LAHORE: The UK Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi here on Friday  stressed that the UK is open for business and ready to develop even stronger partnerships with Pakistan.

She was participating in a roundtable discussion with the Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab Cabinet Ministers and the UK trade mission to Pakistan in Lahore.

On the occasion, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has said that the UK government is fully committed to building on the bilateral trade relationship between our two countries.

“Pakistan has a huge potential for foreign investment. Encouraging more British companies, including those in energy, retail, education and security sectors, to consider Pakistan as an investment destination will mutually benefit both countries. More business investments will not only help boost growth, create jobs and reduce poverty to create a brighter future for the people of Pakistan, but will also help British companies to benefit from Pakistan’s relatively untapped market. She said.

She said that in December, London will host a dedicated UK-Pakistan trade conference to encourage more companies to follow the success of those already here. There will be a specific focus on strong participation from the energy sector.

“Our message is clear and simple: the UK is open for business and serious about developing strong business partnerships with Pakistan.” She said.

During her visit to Lahore, Baroness Warsi and the trade mission also met the Punjab Investment Board. They discussed the opportunities for building on the existing warm friendship and confidence in Pakistan’s economic future. Both countries would work jointly to achieve the new target of increasing bilateral trade to £3 billion by 2015.

Baroness Warsi also introduced the UK trade mission at a business networking reception for members of the Pakistan Business Council and key business officials in Lahore.

Baroness Warsi also met with the British Council Active Citizens programme team on developing a community engagement course for degree colleges and universities. The course, ‘Citizenship education through community engagement’ aims to encourage community engagement and development among students. The Minister interacted with the students of Lahore College Women University and learnt of their experiences on working with local communities in Punjab. Later on, she chaired a roundtable discussion, along with the Director of British Council Punjab Richard Weyers, on shaping the Technical and Vocational education (TVE) opportunities in Pakistan.

During her two day visit to Pakistan, Baroness Warsi and the UK Trade Mission met the Prime Minister of Pakistan, other key ministers and parliamentarians and business leaders. The visit has been a demonstration of the importance that the UK places on developing its trade and business partnership with Pakistan, and the benefits that this will bring to both countries.