Pak-EU needs to be more open to become formal strategic partners: Wigemark

ISLAMABAD: While highlighting various aspects of the Pak-EU relations, Ambassador to the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Lars-Gunnar Wigemark on Thursday emphasized that in order to become formal strategic partners, both Pakistan and EU needed to be more open.

He made these remarks while speaking as chief guest at a one- day conference on “Pakistan’s Relations with European Union (EU)” organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) here.

He also said that there was a lacuna of research and scholarship in the EU on Pakistan and vice versa, minor number of researchers worked on EU in Pakistan which needed to be enhanced.

The Ambassador highlighted that Pak-EU relations had been evolving gradually and continuously.

In the context of enhancing trade volume between Pakistan and EU, he said that there was a need to diversify the exportable products from Pakistan to EU.

Talking about the irritants of Pak-EU relations, he pointed out illegal migration which was an issue needed to be addressed.

Former Ambassador of Pakistan to Belgium, Munawar Saeed Bhatti while talking about the Pakistan-EU Strategic Relations said that Pakistan was not in the list of strategic partners of EU while India was their strategic partner that issue needed to be addressed by Pakistan.

The EU was one of the largest trading partners and donors of Pakistan in this context Pakistan needed to utilize its strategic importance to enhance its trade volume with the EU.

Prof. Dr. Naheed Zia Khan, Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Fatima Jinnah University, Rawalpindi while talking about the economic perspective of Pakistan-EU relations said that Pakistan should avail that opportunity of “Generalised Scheme of Preferences” (GSP) plus which allowed developing country exporters to pay less or no duties on their exports to the EU.

Dr. Naheed Zia also said that Pakistan should have good idea of its capacity of exportable surplus, too in order to enhance the trade volume with the EU.

She also said that our industry should be working on innovation and competition. Dr. Naheed also emphasized on the need of fixing the problem of bad governance in Pakistan.

Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal of Quaid-e-Azam University said that Pakistan-NATO relations were crucial as NATO had become important entity at international level.

Pakistan should work on the areas mentioned by the NATO for cooperation for better development and strategic relations with the NATO countries.

Dr. Kamal Monno, industrialist and economist spoke about the private sector of Pakistan and EU.

He said that aims and objectives of EU and Pakistan were aligned and Pakistan should not let this relationship slip.

Dr. Monno also said that Pakistan industry should give importance to value additions and also needed to be aware of the happenings within the EU markets.

Pakistan should address concerns of the EU, so that relationship continued and got strengthened, he said.

President IPRI, Sohail Amin said that nature of growing relationships of states with the other states and also between states and entities was of incremental nature.

He also emphasized on the importance of Pakistan’s access to GSP trade. He said that GSP plus status would boost trade in Pakistan.

He also thanked the Chief Guest, panelists and participants for attending the conference.