LAHORE: Pakistani entrepreneurs should step into the joint ventures with their Belgian counterparts and pharmaceuticals, gem & jewelry and diamond are the most lucrative areas.
These views were expressed by the Trade Commissioner of Belgium Abid Hussain while talking to the LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah, Senior Vice President Nasir Hameed Khan and Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Executive Committee Members Haji Asif Sehar, Naeem Hanif and Ali Afzal, were also present.
Abid Hussain said that pharmaceuticals and gem & jewelry sectors of Belgium are advanced and abundant with opportunities for investment and joint ventures. Pakistani businessmen should come forward and avail these opportunities. “A Pakistani company is already investing in pharmaceutical sector of Belgium but this sector of Pakistani should make strong presence there”, he added.
He informed the participants that initially Gawadar and Port Qasim were developed by the Belgian companies. He said that Belgium is one of the top 10 richest states of the world. It has advanced technology, high-tech industries and 85% of its production is being exported. He said that Belgium is also leading corona vaccine manufacturing. He said that Pakistani companies must start joint ventures in pharmaceutical sector with their Belgian counterparts and enter into EU market.
While underlining the importance of trade and economic ties between the two countries, the Trade Commissioner said that both countries should identify more areas for cooperation and should also introduce more tradable items to enhance mutual trade volume.
LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan and Belgium have been steady investment and trading partners for the last many years. Among the top exporting and importing countries for Pakistan in EU, Belgium is ranked at 6th and 7th places respectively.
He said that traditionally, the balance of trade has been in favour of Pakistan. The trade volume between Pakistan and Belgium stands at around 946 million dollars. Our exports to Belgium stand at 598 million dollars while our imports from Belgium are 348 million dollars.
“From 2017 to 2019, a dip has been observed both in exports and imports figures between Pakistan and Belgium. Pakistan’s exports to Belgium have gone down from 701 million dollars in 2017 to 598 million dollars in 2019 while the imports decreased from 366 million dollars to 348 million dollars in the same period”, the LCCI President said and added that the major items of Pakistan’s exports to Belgium are readymade garments, home textiles, hosiery items, rice, woven fabrics, tobacco, sports goods and cotton yarn etc. The items that are imported from Belgium include pharmaceutical products, weaving machines, waste of iron & steel, agricultural machinery, articles of plastic, electrical and electronic equipment etc.
LCCI Senior Vice President Nasir Hameed Khan and Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry said that in these challenging times, when the economic activities across the globe are being constrained due to COVID, there is a dire need to explore new opportunities for enhancing investment and bilateral trade among Pakistan and Belgium.
They said that despite the tremendous trade potential that exists between the two countries, the volume of bilateral trade barely touched 950 million dollars in 2019, showing a decrease of 4% as compared to the figures of 2018. The global imports of Belgium are around 426 Billion while its global exports are around 445 Billion Dollars.
They LCCI office-bearers said that this global standing of Belgium in world trade essentially means that there is a huge potential to increase Pakistan’s exports to Belgium. Likewise, there is also a tremendous potential for Belgium to become the main supplying market for our imports of essential raw materials, Engineering goods, machinery and variety of services etc.