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LAHORE: Economic Counselor of French Embassy Dominique Simon has said that France is one of the main contributors of foreign direct investment in Pakistan and will continue its support in future as well. He was speaking at a meeting at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir, Vice President Haris Ateeq and former LCCI President Malik Tahir Javed also spoke while Executive Committee Members Naeem Hanif and Shahzad Butt were also present on the occasion.

Dominique Simon said that France is one of the main contributors of foreign direct investment in Pakistan. The famous French company Loreal is producing in Pakistan. He said that one renowned French company which is the leading global player in gas turbines has invested around 1 Billion dollars for Energy production in Balochistan in two power plants.

Another French company recently signed an agreement with NTDC for installation of high voltage lines. He added that the French Development Agency has signed agreements for enhancement of Lahore and Taxila Museums. He said that France also supported Pakistan for restructuring of around US$ 6 Billion debt through the Paris club agreement.

He said that any LCCI member who is facing any issue with respect to trade with France can contact him directly. The Economic Counselor said that the business activities are normalizing after the COVID. France has appointed a new Ambassador to Pakistan who is about to take charge. Similarly Pakistan is also in the process of sending a new envoy to Paris.

He said that France has always supported Pakistan in GSP plus status and appreciates the efforts of the Pakistani Government for showing compliance to GSP conventions.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that France is a friend of Pakistan and has a significant position in European Union. He said that France is known for its diverse culture, historical monuments, renowned artists, leading fashion industry, best art, and variety of food, colors, technological development and what to say more to express its features.

He said that the diplomatic relations between Pakistan and France date back to 1947. LCCI has always accorded great importance to Economic and Trade relations with France.

Mian Nauman said that according to the data by the State Bank of Pakistan, the trade volume between the two countries was 785 million dollars in 2020-21. Pakistan's exports to France stood at 435 million dollars in 2020-21 while our imports from France in the same period were 350 million dollars. He said that Pakistan's exports to France are dominated by Textiles, followed by Rice, Leather and Surgical instruments.

On the other hand, our imports from France mainly consist of Machinery, Aircraft Parts, Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Dairy products and plastics. "We are proud of our defense cooperation with France as Pakistani Air Force has a large number of French aircraft and holds many trainings and visits to France", he added.

The LCCI President said it is an encouraging sign that in the first quarter of the current financial year (July-Sept 2021), Pakistan exports to France stood at 119 million dollar, as compared to 91 million dollars in the same period last year.

He said that Commercial section of the French Embassy is well positioned to play an instrumental role in creating new avenues for improving bilateral ties and enhancing economic relations between the two countries.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that we should take a quantum leap in economic cooperation and collaborate in the high tech areas of Electric Vehicle and Mobile Device Manufacturing. This value addition will certainly help to increase the volume of trade tremendously.

He said that Paris is renowned as the world's fashion capital and one of the premier tourist destinations in Europe. He said that SME sector in Pakistan, belonging to Textiles, can benefit immensely from the French expertise in the latest fashion trends. He said that French Embassy can play a role in this connection for the capacity building of SME sector in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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