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LAHORE: Ambassador of Portugal Manuel Frederico Pinheiro Silva during his visit to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry has emphasised the significance of exploring key parts of Pakistan and concluded his tour by visiting Punjab and Lahore. He expressed his intention to introduce Portugal’s contributions to global culture, economy, and international relations.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar presented the address of welcome while Senior Vice-President Zafar Mahmood Ch, Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt, Honorary Consul of Portugal Iftikhar Firoz and Executive Committee Members also spoke on the occasion.

Drawing attention to Portugal’s remarkable history, the Ambassador highlighted the 15th century voyages of Portuguese explorers, which left lasting influences in Gwadar, India, and other parts of Asia, where Portuguese families continue to reside. He emphasised Portugal’s strong maritime tradition and extensive maritime jurisdiction, portraying the sea as an integral part of their identity.

The ambassador provided an overview of Portugal’s population of 11 million, making it the 40th largest economy in the world with a per capita GDP of $ 14,000. He highlighted Portugal’s active role in the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), stressing the potential for shared learning and cooperation between Portugal and Pakistan, particularly in overcoming financial challenges based on Portugal’s experiences from 2010 to 2014.

Portugal’s impressive economic growth was also discussed, with the Ambassador noting that it is currently the second fastest-growing economy in the European Union. He attributed this success to the country’s strong export sector, which serves as a major driver of the economy.

Moreover, the Ambassador pointed out Portugal’s exceptional tourism industry, ranking 10th globally in terms of tourist arrivals. He highlighted the allure of Portugal’s rich cultural heritage, attracting visitors from around the world.

Addressing Portugal’s commitment to sustainability, the ambassador shared that the country relies on 70 percent renewable energy sources, showcasing its dedication to combating climate change and fostering a greener future. He further mentioned Portugal’s possession of the largest GPS system, demonstrating the nation’s technological advancements.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan and Portugal have been keeping excellent diplomatic relations for more than seven decades. There are a number of MOUs and Agreements already signed between two countries to further deepen the mutual ties.

The LCCI president said that we take Portugal as an important trading partner in Europe and fortunately Pakistan is having favourable balance of trade with Portugal. He said that Portugal comes at 11th place among the top exporting destinations and at 19th place among the top importing member states from Europe. It is good to observe that overall trade is following a growing trend for the last few years but we are keen to acquire better share in bilateral trade. Last year, Portugal’s global imports were to the tune of US 115 billion dollars and total exports were more than US 82 billion dollars.

He said that according to the trade data sought from the State Bank of Pakistan, the value of total trade between Pakistan and Portugal stood around US 284 million dollars in 2021-22. Pakistan’s exports to Portugal were around US 271 million dollars while the imports from Portugal were around US 13 million dollars in the same period. During the first ten months of current financial year, the imports from Portugal amounted to US 9 million dollars while Pakistan’s exports to Portugal were nearly US 186 million dollars. You will agree with me that we need to make concerted efforts to enhance the present volume of trade to at least US one billion dollars.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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