ISLAMABAD: Peter Szijjarto, Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Hungary, called on Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce & Investment on Friday and discussed trade and investment related issues. He was accompanied by the eight-member delegation.
During the meeting Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce & Investment highlighted the cordial relations between Pakistan and Hungary and thanked the government and people of Hungary for its support in the European Union for grant of GSP+ status to Pakistan. He appreciated the Hungarian investment in oil and gas sector and indicated opportunities for agro and food processing, water conservation, information technology, engineering and manufacturing sector for investment.
Advisor to the PM on Commerce & Investment apprised the visiting delegation of various initiatives Pakistan has embarked upon to enhance regional connectivity. Being a member of TIR Convention Pakistan is also upgrading the rail and road infrastructure link to enhance regional connectivity particularly with China, Afghanistan & Central Asian Republics.
Since the Hungarian Ambassador to Pakistan Bela Fazekas is also accredited to Afghanistan, the Advisor also apprised that to enhance regional connectivity and to have access to Central Asian Republics, Pakistan had filed a joint appeal with Uzbekistan and Afghanistan in World Bank and other IFIs for development of Trans-Afghan Railway.
The Advisor also emphasized the importance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a flagship infrastructure project which aims at promoting regional connectivity through Gwadar Port. It was also highlighted that Pakistan intended to develop Gwadar Port as a trade and transit hub for the region. The investment incentives of nine (09) Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to be developed alongside CPEC are open to all trading partners for investment and Pakistan would welcome joint ventures.
The Hungarian side apprised about the offer of a Tied Aid Credit Facility, a credit facility of $50 million for cooperation in agriculture sector, particularly in agro and food processing. This may prove to be a fruitful opportunity, which could be mutually beneficial to both the countries. The Hungarian side showed interest in bilateral cooperation in railways, cyber security, agro & food processing, dairy & livestock and fisheries sectors.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister conveyed that the EXIM Bank of Hungary had a preferential credit line of $84 million to promote business to business cooperation between Pakistani and Hungarian companies. He further indicated the plan of initiating a direct flight by the Hungarian airlines between Pakistan and Hungary.
The Minister indicated the necessity of concluding an agreement on the mutual protection of bilateral investment and expressed the hope that this would encourage many Hungarian companies to invest in Pakistan.
Chairman, Board of Investment highlighted the friendly investment regime and compared it with the countries in the region. He further conveyed the incentives Government of Pakistan is providing to the foreign investors, particularly in SEZs.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021