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LAHORE: Ambassador of the Netherlands Wouter Plomp has invited Pakistani entrepreneurs to step in to Joint Ventures (JVs) with their counterparts in Netherlands in food processing, poultry, maritime, shipping, agriculture, logistics and various other potential areas.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir presented the address of welcome while Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan and Vice President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion.

The Ambassador said that a delegation of nine Pakistani Cheese Maker companies is visiting Netherlands to learn the modern process. He said that Netherlands is ready to share its knowledge with Pakistan.

To a question, The Ambassador said that to continue GSP plus status, Pakistan will have to ensure implementation of all conventions.

Wouter Plomp stressed upon the need of establishing the strengthened mutual trade ties between Netherlands and Pakistan. He said that Netherlands is much keen to develop its strengthened trade ties with Pakistan. He said that there are bright opportunities to develop the business-to-business contacts between the businessmen of both Pakistan and Netherlands.

He said that the private sector of Pakistan should come forward and tap and explore the untapped potential of the market of Netherlands to promote bilateral trade between the two countries.

The Ambassador informed the house that The Dutch East India Company had sent a delegation to Lahore two hundred years ago.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that Netherlands is located in North Western Europe bounded by the North Sea to the North and West while bordered with Germany to the East, and Belgium to the South. He said that Netherlands is known as ‘the flower shop of the world’ as it is the leading country in global production and trading of flowers other factors that distinct Netherlands from the rest of the world are its cheese, wooden shoes, windmills, coffee shops, soccer and countryside areas etc.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan always takes Netherlands as a key trading partner in whole Europe. After UK and Germany, Netherlands is third top export destination for Pakistan whereas it comes at 5th place among the top importing destinations in Europe.

He said that both countries are maintaining sound level of mutual trade and the highlight of these relations is that the balance of trade has consistently been in favour of Pakistan. It is quite encouraging for us that from 2016 the exports of Pakistan to Netherlands are following increasing trend on consistent basis. We need to maintain it as Pakistan is in great need of enhancing its national exports to mitigate the undesirable effects of trade deficit.

The LCCI President said that according to the State Bank of Pakistan, the overall trade between two countries in 2020-21 was around 1.6 billion dollars. Pakistan’s exports to Netherlands were to the tune of 1.1 billion dollars and the imports were 467 million dollars. He said that the level of bilateral trade has surpassed 2 billion dollars due to considerable increase in exports to Netherlands that have increased to 1.33 billion dollars in the first eleven months of current financial year.

“It is a noticeable factor that a number of well-known Dutch companies including Philips and FrieslandCampina etc. are actively operating in Pakistan”, he said and added that the food processing industry is the largest branch of Dutch industry where food production has been automated to a large extent. We want cooperation in the form of technology transfer through Joint Ventures from Netherlands to transform our Agriculture and Livestock sectors on modern lines.

Mian Nauman Kabir shared that the famous Dutch company – FrieslandCampina which acquired Engro Foods has been playing a tremendous role in the development of dairy sector in Pakistan by bringing innovations and best practices in dairy farming, animal health and food safety. Considering the success achieved by FrieslandCampina, more Dutch companies should come forward and invest in Pakistan.

He said that assistance of Netherlands in mechanized farming, floriculture, and horticulture development can be helpful for Pakistan. Netherlands can guide us as to how Pakistan can benefit from Netherlands in these sub sectors of agriculture through transfer of technology and especially initiating joint ventures.

The LCCI President said that we need to adopt latest techniques to identify more tradable goods according to respective market needs and create more and more liaison between the business communities of the two countries.

LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that Pakistani entrepreneurs are benefiting from many programmes launched by the Dutch Embassy. He also called for transfer of technology from Netherlands to Pakistan.

LCCI Vice President, Haris Ateeq said, “We not only want to continue our cordial relationship but also wish to strengthen and consolidate by identifying more areas for mutual cooperation. I once again assure you of full support needed for the promotion of our bilateral relations.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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