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KARACHI: Pakistan’s Ambassador-Designate to Ireland Ayesha Farooqui has said that she will make every possible effort to get the ban on Pakistani seafood in the European markets lifted.

In this regard, all the stakeholders of the sector should submit their suggestions so that she could exercise influence in the European Union after assuming office, she said.

Pakistani youths can go to Ireland for studying biomedical engineering, she said.

Speaking at a meeting of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), the ambassador-designate said: “We need to increase the competence and skills of our students and develop them along modern lines.

“Ireland is also known as the Silicon Valley of Europe. It is a small country with a population of 5 million, but has a large presence in technology and the European market.”

She said that Ireland is now the only English-speaking country in the European Union, and Pakistan should take full advantage of that. An ambassador acts as a bridge between two countries and their peoples.

An ambassador has to take steps to promote bilateral relations by keeping an eye on both political and economic aspects. She said that before assuming her responsibilities in Ireland, she wanted to know how she could contribute positively to the economic stability of Pakistan.

Ayesha Farooqui said that if KATI takes trade delegations to Ireland, she will fully support them and provide all the assistance.

KATI President Faraz-ur-Rehman said that it is unusual for an ambassador to do homework before assuming the post as ambassador to a designated country. He expressed the hope that Ayesha Farooqui will play a very positive role in promoting Pakistani youths and businesses in Ireland as she is preparing herself well before taking charge as an ambassador to Ireland.

He pointed out that Pakistanis are facing problems in getting visas to European countries, including Ireland, which is adversely affecting Pakistan’s leather exports to the EU. He said that only in Karachi around 150,000 youths are earning a living through virtual assistance or freelancing.

Ireland is an important market with immense business opportunities in the IT sector. There is a need to bring the skills of Pakistani youths to global standards so that they can get more employment opportunities.

Faraz-ur-Rehman said that Europe’s fisheries sector has been out of bounds for Pakistan for the past 11 years, but no progress is being made in this regard.

Zubair Chhaya, the CEO of KITE Limited, said that unfortunately political interference in various sectors has destroyed Pakistan’s diplomatic relations and its image at the international level.

Trade officers and commercial attachés in Pakistani embassies around the world are often appointed on political grounds and they have been unable to bring economic benefits to Pakistan.

“This is the reason why Pakistan is suffering from economic decline. Pakistan has a 1,400-kilometre-long coastline that has the best seafood in the world, but due to the ban in the European Union, Pakistani products cannot reach the global market,” he added.

Former president of KATI Zahid Saeed said that Ireland’s pharmaceutical sector is considered one of the best in the world. “We want technology to be transferred from Ireland to Pakistan so that our country can be self-sufficient in the field of pharma... The embassy can play an important role in solving licensing issues in Ireland for the export of medicines from Pakistan.”

Masood Naqi said that there is a need to improve the image of Pakistan at the global level. The 10-year period of GSP scheme will be ending next year, for which extension is vital, he added.

Vice President of KATI Muslim Mohammedi said that seafood has been banned in European countries for the past 11 years, while in Pakistan all international standards and laws are followed. Almost all the companies are ISO-certified, but despite this the European countries are not lifting the ban.

He said that the fisheries sector is currently exporting goods worth $350 million. “However, if adequate attention is paid, this sector has the potential to export products worth more that $1 billion.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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