LAHORE: Ambassador of Sweden Henrik Persson has said that joint ventures between the private sectors of the two countries in dairy, technical education, environment, telecom, renewable energy and other potential areas will strengthen trade & economic ties besides transfer of technology.
He was addressing a meeting at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah, Executive Committee Members Wasif Yousaf, Haji Muhammad Asif Sehar, Mardan Ali Zaidi and former Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad also spoke on the occasion.
The Ambassador said that Sweden and Pakistan have history of diplomatic, economic and trade ties and also similarities in different areas. He said that Sweden is playing an important role in economy of Pakistan as a number of Swedish companies are operational here.
He also appreciated the improved ranking of Pakistan in World Bank index, Ease of Doing Business (EODB) and said that “we would get benefit from this opportunity.” He said that in future Business communities of the both sides would get more opportunity to connect and start bilateral negotiation on trade and investment, he said.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan and Sweden have been enjoying good diplomatic and trade ties for decades. He said that like any developing country, Pakistan has been experiencing trade deficit with Sweden. Sweden should import more from Pakistan to create a win-win situation for both the countries.
He said that it should be a matter concern for us that the volume of bilateral trade between is dipping from last two years. He said that from 2018 to 2019, the bilateral trade considerably dropped from 398 million dollars to 336 million dollars. During this period, the imports from Sweden came down from 260 million dollars to 205 million dollars while the exports dropped from 138 million dollars to 131 million dollars.
The LCCI President said that major exports of Pakistan to Sweden include articles of apparel & clothing, articles of leather, rice, sports goods and cotton etc., while the imports consist of ferrous scrap of iron, paper & paperboard, data storage devices, chemicals and cellular phones etc.
He said that in addition to enhancing the trade volume in existing items of trade, there is a considerable room for Pakistan and Sweden to enhance economic cooperation in the fields of IT, Pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, agriculture technology and higher education etc.
Mian Tariq Misbah said that Government of Pakistan has recently put in place a policy framework for the manufacturing of mobile phones and electric vehicles with the aim of enhancing the manufacturing base of the country especially in the field of hi-tech products. He said that it will be a good opportunity for Swedish companies to make the best use of this policy framework by setting up their manufacturing units in Pakistan.
He said that Special Economic Zones are being established all across the country under China Pakistan Economic Corridor with all the essential infrastructure facilities. The government is also giving lucrative tax incentives to both the local and foreign investors in these SEZs.
He said that Swedish companies may be informed about these latest developments.
The LCCI President said that the role of Swedish Embassy to achieve the desired results is of key importance. LCCI would like to keep regular liaison with the commercial section of Swedish Embassy for this purpose.
“We are ready to respond positively to any proposal made for deepening trade and economic ties between two countries”, Mian Tariq Misbah added.
He informed the Ambassador that the Lahore Chamber is planning a delegation for the European countries and Sweden is one of them. He invited the investors from Sweden to come forward and avail benefits from the investment opportunities in Gwadar.