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LAHORE: 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. He 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 potential of the two countries. He said that exhibitions and exchange of trade delegations can help boost the mutual trade.

The Ambassador said that both the 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.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah said that good relations between the countries should be translated into trade and economic ties to benefit both the countries. He said that interactions between the private sectors provide excellent opportunities for exploring new ways to expand trade and investment relations.

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 US$336 million in 2020 out of which the Pakistan's exports to Switzerland were only around US$15 million, he said. The exports of Pakistan to Switzerland average around US$15 million 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 and its global exports are in excess of $318 billion. He said 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.

Mian Tariq Misbah 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 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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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