(February 25, 2019)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Monday said that Pakistan shares close and old bilateral relations with Belgium in different areas of interest including security, defence, science & technology and trade and economy. EU is the biggest export destination for Pakistan with 34 percent share Pakistan’s exports, however as per 2016, Belgium’s share in total exports was 9 percent while imports to Pakistan were 6 percent. Despite potential of $ 2 billion, Pakistan could export only $ 970 million while imports from France were $ 380 million despite huge potential of approximately $ 7 billion.
The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that export commodities to Belgium include textile products, medical & surgical instruments, Vaccines for medicine, Food items and import products include Light oils, scrap of steel & iron and solid milk. Bilateral trade of Pak – Belgium has increased by 34 percent since 2013 and reached $ 1 billion in 2017, however, huge growth potential is available. Export sector can increase exports to Belgium by realizing huge potential market. Bilateral trade is in favour of Pakistan which can be further improved through increased exports.
The Former Minister said that Belgium can have the opportunity of investment in key sectors of the Pakistani economy including energy, transport, public works, civil engineering, environment, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and non-banking services. Given to the better investment opportunities, easy government policies and comfortable environment Belgium can increase investment in several new and existing sectors including renewable energy, tourism, hospitality and dams, etc. All Greenfield investment has been exempted from RD on import of plants and machinery and GST for five years, which is a benefit for all foreign investors.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that recently in the backdrop of easing visa policy by the current government where on arrival visa has offered to 50 countries, online visa to 175 countries, business visa to 68 countries and tourist visa to 24 countries including Belgium.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that opportunities lie in various areas of Pakistan including human resource, minerals and agriculture sectors and the Country possesses exceptional raw material for investment and has distinguished position in regional countries. Single country exhibitions and trade visits should be increased to strengthen bilateral trade between the countries. The human and natural resources of Pakistan are enough to make this country an industrial and financial hub as it play vital roles in trade with middle east, Gulf and central Asian countries. The Pak – Belgium business forum should take practical measures to improve the bilateral trade between the countries.