Benedict de Cerjat, Ambassador of Switzerland has said that Swiss companies working in Pakistan are happy with the business-friendly environment and keen to enhance their investment.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Monday. LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah and Vice President Tahir Manzoor Chaudhry also spoke on the occasion.
The Ambassador said that political system in Switzerland is stable while regulations are pro-business. Pakistani businessmen should come forward and join hands with the Swiss counterparts to avail the opportunities.
He admitted that mutual trade does not reflect the real potential of the two countries. He said that exhibitions and exchange of trade delegations can help boost mutual trade.
He said that both countries should also work together on green economy. He mentioned that global warming has become a serious issue and should be tackled through joint efforts.
The Ambassador added that USA, Germany, Italy and France are the major trade partners of Switzerland. He said that pharmaceutical industry in Switzerland is most sophisticated and developed in the world.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that good relations should be translated into trade and economic ties to benefit both countries. He said that interactions between the private sectors provide excellent opportunities for exploring new ways to expand trade and investment relations.
Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan and Switzerland enjoy good diplomatic relations however these relations are not reflected in the figures of trade volume. The bilateral trade volume stood at merely 336 million dollars in 2020 out of which Pakistan’s exports to Switzerland were only around 15 million dollars.
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The LCCI President mentioned that the exports of Pakistan to Switzerland averaged around 15 million dollars in the last ten years. This scenario seriously requires Pakistan to find new avenues for enhancing its exports to Switzerland.
He said that the LCCI is well aware of the economic importance of Switzerland as its global imports are in excess of 291 billion dollars and its global exports are in excess of 318 billion dollars.
Mian Tariq Misbah added that the potential areas, in which both the countries can enhance trade and economic cooperation include pharmaceuticals, value-added textiles, surgical instruments, sports goods, agriculture technology and renewable energy etc.
He said that Special Economic Zones are being established across the country under China Pakistan Economic Corridor with all the essential infrastructure facilities. The government is offering lucrative tax incentives to both the local and foreign investors in these SEZs.
“Moreover, the introduction of Mobile Device Manufacturing Policy and Electric Vehicle Policy by the Government of Pakistan has given a special focus on bringing new players and technology innovation in the country,” the LCCI President added and requested the Ambassador to play a role in apprising the Swiss companies about these latest developments.
He said that Switzerland is well known for its tourism. Both countries should collaborate in exploiting the immense potential of tourism sector in Pakistan. The joint venture between Pakistani and Swiss investors in this sector will create a win-win situation.
Mian Tariq Misbah said that Pakistan and Switzerland would have to take concrete steps including exchange of business delegations, organizing trade fairs and single country exhibitions to further enhance and expand bilateral economic and commercial interaction.
The LCCI President hoped that Swiss Embassy will play a role to increase private to private contacts between two countries.
Former LCCI Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, Executive Committee Members Shahid Nazir, Haji Muhammad Asif Sehar, Shahzad Butt, Fiaz Haider, Naeem Haneed and Mardan Ali Zaidi were also present.