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Swiss envoy calls for enhancing investment


LAHORE:

Swiss companies working in Pakistan are satisfied with the business-friendly environment and are keen to enhance their investment, said Swiss Ambassador to Pakistan Benedict de Cerjat.

During his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the ambassador said that the political system in Switzerland was stable while regulations were pro-business. “Pakistani businessmen should come forward and join hands with Swiss counterparts to avail themselves of the opportunities,” he emphasised.

Cerjat admitted that mutual trade did not reflect the real potential of the two countries. Suggesting improvement in trade ties, he said that exhibitions and exchange of trade delegations could help boost mutual trade.

The envoy added that both countries should also work together on a green economy. He mentioned that global warming had become a serious issue and should be tackled through joint efforts.

Read more: Pakistan greatly values its relations with Iraq: Qureshi

He highlighted that the US, Germany, Italy and France were major trade partners of Switzerland, adding that the pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland was one of the most sophisticated and developed around the world.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that good relations should be translated into trade and economic ties for the benefit of both countries.

He said that interaction between private sectors provided excellent opportunities for exploring new ways to expand trade and investment relations.

Misbah lamented that Pakistan and Switzerland enjoyed good diplomatic relations, however, these relations were not reflected in figures of trade volume.

Bilateral trade volume stood at $336 million in 2020, out of which Pakistan’s exports to Switzerland were only around $15 million. “This scenario seriously requires Pakistan to find new avenues for enhancing exports to Switzerland.”

Misbah added that the potential areas where both countries could enhance trade and economic cooperation included pharmaceuticals, value-added textile, surgical instruments, sports goods, agriculture, technology, renewable energy, etc.

The LCCI chief added, “The introduction of Mobile Device Manufacturing Policy and Electric Vehicle Policy by the government of Pakistan has provided a special opportunity for bringing new players and technology innovation in the country.”

He stated that Switzerland was well known for its tourism. “Both countries should collaborate in exploiting the immense potential of the tourism sector in Pakistan,” Misbah said, adding that joint ventures between Pakistani and Swiss investors in the sector would create a win-win situation.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2021.

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