KARACHI: Ambassador of Kingdom of Netherlands, Marcel de Vink said on Saturday that it is right time for Pakistani business community to diversify their exports to European Union and to fully benefit from EU’s GSP-plus scheme granting duty free access for Pakistani goods to the European Union markets.
In a call-on session with office bearers and Managing Committee members of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) here at the Chamber , the Ambassador said the trade volume between the two countries stood at dollars 800 million.
” I will be striving to ensure that the existing trade volume reaches dollars one billion during my stay in Pakistan as the Netherlands Ambassador,” he added. President KCCI Aamir Abdullah Zaki, Vice President KCCI Muhammad Idrees, Chairman of KCCI’s Diplomatic Affairs Sub-Committee Abdul Jabbar Dalal, Chairman of KCCI’s Law and Order Sub-Committee , Haji Asif Chamdia, Zafar Saeed Baghpatee, Ateeq-ur-Rehman, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan and others were present. Honorary Consul General of Kingdom of the Netherlands in Karachi, Tarek M. Khan and Commercial Officer, Peter A. Felix accompanied the Ambassador. Ambassador of the Netherlands said that efforts were being made to encourage Dutch companies to invest in Pakistan.
” We would like to do more for Pakistan and encourage people to see for themselves what Pakistan offers ,” he said adding that Pakistan needs to focus on effectively dealing with some of the serious challenges being faced by the country today ; particularly the law and order situation, economic instability and the negative perception about Pakistan.
” Any bad news coming out of Pakistan along with economic instability scares people away,” De Vink remarked. He said that trade volume remains almost balanced between Pakistan and the Netherlands, which is a good sign but it was his country’s desire to further enhance imports from Pakistan which are likely to improve due to GSP-plus status to Pakistan.
The Netherlands Ambassador, referring to Karachi city’s bustling commercial and trading activities , said Karachi city is undoubtedly the most vibrant city of Pakistan which holds immense potential and offers substantial investment opportunities.
Marcel de Vink said that during his stay, he will be working on four areas including energy, water, logistics and agriculture as many companies in the Netherlands are keen to do business in these sectors. A delegation from the agriculture sector of the Netherlands, which will be headed by the Vice Minister of the Netherlands, will soon be arriving in Pakistan to explore Pakistan’s trade potential and investment opportunities available in the agriculture sector of Pakistan.
For enhancing business-to-business and chambers-to-chambers interaction between Pakistan and the Netherlands , the Ambassador advised KCCI to arrange a small delegation to the Netherlands so that they could enhance interaction with various chambers in the Netherlands and explore ways and means for undertaking joint ventures. Exchange of delegations can certainly pave way for enhanced trade relations between the two countries, he said.
Speaking on the Netherlands and Pakistan’s relations , he said that both countries are enjoying excellent relations since 1948 when Netherlands opened its Embassy in Pakistan.
He recalled that Pakistan actively extended support to help the flood victims in the Netherlands in 1953 whereas the Netherlands also came forward and supported the victims of devastating earthquake suffered by Pakistan in 2005 and the floods in 2010 that clearly indicates the strong solidarity between the two countries.