ISLAMABAD: Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak Monday said that his country was keen to enhance relations with Pakistan for taping business and trade potential that exists between the two countries.
Addressing the Slovak-Pakistan Business Forum here, the minister said that it was his first-ever official visit to Pakistan aimed at promoting and exchanging views to help promote business between the two countries.
He said that this forum was first-ever event of its kind in the twenty plus existence history of his country, hence highlighting its significance from the business point of view.
The minister said that both the countries have potential to promote trade in goods and services sectors.
The minister stressed the need for exploring these sectors with special focus on machinery, energy, construction, infrastructure, agriculture nanotechnology, electric industry, defence, food industries and so many other sectors.
He expressed the hope that this visit would help promote economic interaction and open avenues for trade and investment.
He invited the Pakistan businessmen to invest in Solvakia, which he said was at top among European countries in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth during the last decade.
The Slovak Deputy Prime Minister informed the participants that Slovakia got independence in 1993 and joined European Union in 2004 while it joined Schengen in 2007.
He said that due to ambitious reforms, prudent policies and fiscal policies, Solvakia was less affected by recession that had engulfed EU for five years.
He said that his country has also important geographic location and as a member of EU can become a better place for investment.
Speaking on the occasion, State Minister for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal Tarar urged upon the Slovak Minister to also consider cooperation in health sector.
She said that although Pakistan has been lagging behind in meeting the health indicator of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), however efforts were being made to improve these indicators.
She said that government was committed to improve economic situation in the country adding that it was working on all fronts simultaneously to lead country towards development.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman WAPDA, Zafar Mehmood urged the businessmen to exploit the GSP Plus status provided by the EU countries.
He was of the view that energy security was important for economic development as without it a development may remain just a dream.
He said that there have been worst energy crisis in the country for at last one decade, however, he added that the government was working on several hydel and other power generating projects to overcome the energy shortage.
Honorary Consul General of Slovakia in Pakistan, Malik M. Asif, while speaking on the occasion, said that promotion of business relations would bring the two countries closer to each other.
He said that this business forum would provide an opportunity to the businessmen of both the countries to explore new business avenues.
On the occasion, Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SAARC CCI), Iftikhar Ali Malik informed the gathering that government had been putting impetus on private sector to bring economic stability in the country.
He said that the business community also shared same thoughts as presence by Slovak Deputy Prime Minister for the promotion of business and trade between the two countries.
He said that private sector of Pakistan would definitely like to have more interaction with Slovakia government and businessmen to explore trade and business opportunities.