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ISLAMABAD: At the EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar called for avoiding distortions, economic decoupling, and new forms of protectionism and selective application of norms, which can undermine free trade, win-win economic cooperation and interconnectedness.

According to a statement of the Foreign Office here on Sunday, Khar attended the EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Stockholm at the invitation of the EU High representative Josep Borrell and Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström.

Speaking at the roundtable discussion on “Building more Sustainable and Inclusive Prosperity Together”, she called for enhanced cooperation between Europe and Asia-Pacific particularly in trade, investment and sustainable development.

She underscored Pakistan’s role as a trade, investment and connectivity hub in the heart of Asia, which seeks to deepen its engagements with the European partners.

Khar appreciated European sustainability and connectivity initiatives like the EU Global gateway Strategy and the Green Deal. She expressed the hope that the new EU GSP Plus facility would continue to focus on its primary aim of promoting sustainable development and poverty alleviation.

The Minister of State stressed on the importance of recognizing the symbiotic relationship between sustainability and inclusivity in line with UN Sustainable development goals.

She also called for avoiding distortions, economic de-coupling, and new forms of protectionism and selective application of norms, which can undermine free trade, win-win economic cooperation and interconnectedness.

She emphasized the need for partnerships to deal with emerging global challenges and non-traditional security threats such as climate change, pandemics, water, and energy and food security. She proposed greater collaboration between the EU and Asia-Pacific countries for research and capacity building with focus on sustainability, green economies, agriculture and digital connectivity.

In Stockholm, the statement added that the Minister of State also held bilateral meetings with the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden Tobias Billstrom, EU High Representative Josep Borrell, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of UAE Noura Alkaabi, UK Minister of State Lord Tariq Ahmad, Counsellor of the US Department of State Derek H. Chollet, and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand Vijavat Isarabhakdi.

During her meeting with State Department Counselor Derek Chollet, she discussed bilateral and regional issues and vowed to continue multifaceted bilateral dialogue including on trade and investment, energy, climate change and health.

In her meeting with Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of state for Foreign Affairs of UAE, Khar appreciated valuable bilateral relations and historic bonds existing between the two countries. The duo also discussed ways to enhance bilateral engagement and multilateral cooperation in various fields including trade and investment, aviation, higher education and people-to-people contacts.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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