ISLAMABAD (APP): Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari on Wednesday said the ICCI had planned to organize a Pakistan-France Business Forum to improve business relations between the two countries.
Leading an ICCI delegation in a meeting with French Ambassador Nicolas GALEY, Bakhtawari said the French companies working in Pakistan would be invited to share their experiences and sought the embassy’s cooperation in that regard.
During the meeting, the two sides discussed matters for further improving bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and France. The Economic Counselor of France Embassy was also present in the meeting, an ICCI press release said.
The ICCI president said the current volume of bilateral trade of around $ 2 billion between Pakistan and France was not up to the actual potential of both countries.
He stressed for strong business linkages between the private sectors of Pakistan and France to explore new vistas of mutual cooperation.
He said France had supported Pakistan for EU’s GSP Plus scheme and it could cooperate with Pakistan in many sectors including energy, IT, agriculture, livestock and tourism.
Bakhtawari said Pakistan was a huge market of around 223 million consumers and France should focus on Pakistan for business and investment.
He invited the ambassador to visit the ICCI for an interaction with the business community.
Addressing the ICCI delegation, Ambassador Nicolas GALEY said France considered Pakistan an important country and wanted to have more business relations with it.
He said Pakistan should focus on the EU’s Parliament for the continuity of the GSP Plus scheme.
The ambassador said a French Alumni group would be activated to enhance the cooperation between the two countries. Whenever a French business delegation visits Pakistan, he would connect them with ICCI.
He said that close cooperation between ICCI and French chambers of commerce & industry could help explore untapped areas of business cooperation between the two countries.
He said Pakistan’s current difficult economic situation was transitory, however, the country could attract more investment by addressing the issue of its currency fluctuation.
He said France and Pakistan had signed a roadmap for bilateral cooperation to strengthen relations in all fields of mutual interests, including economic development, science & technology, education, culture, tourism, defence, climate change and hoped that it would produce good results for both countries.
ICCI Senior Vice President Faad Waheed said the Pakistan France Business Alliance was working in Karachi and its Chapter should also be opened in Islamabad to promote mutual understanding and friendly relations between the business communities of Pakistan and France.
Engr. Muhammad Azhar ul Islam Zafar said many French companies were already working in Pakistan and more should come to explore joint ventures and investment in areas of interest.
ICCI leaders Zafar Bakhtawari and Faizan Shahzad also shared useful ideas to promote trade and economic relations between Pakistan and France.