President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister, Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday said that Pakistan shares close and old bilateral relations with France in different areas of interest including security, defence, science & technology and trade and economy. EU is the biggest export destination for Pakistan with 34 percent share Pakistan’s exports, however as per 2016, France share in total exports was just 5 percent while imports to Pakistan were less than 1 percent. Despite potential of $ 2.7 billion, Pakistan could export only $ 143 million while imports from France were only $ 6 million despite huge potential of approximately $ 10 billion.
The Veteran Business Leader while talking to the business community said that export commodities to France include textile & leather products, Instruments used in medical, surgical or veterinary sciences, Vaccines for medicine, Dairy Products and import products from France includes Medium oils, Light oils, Telephones and mobile sets, scrap of steel and vehicles.
Bilateral trade of Pak – France stood at € 1.4 billion in 2017, however, huge growth potential is available. Export sector can increase exports to France through realizing huge potential market. The Former Minister said that Over 185 French companies are members of the Pakistan-France Business Alliance out of which 32 French companies, are represented in key sectors of the Pakistani economy including energy, transport, public works, civil engineering, environment, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and non-banking services.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that in the light of better investment opportunities, easy government policies and comfortable environment French companies can further increase investment in several new and existing sectors including renewable energy, tourism, hospitality and dams, etc. Recently in the backdrop of easing visa policy by the current government where on arrival visa has offered to 50 countries, online visa to 175 countries and business visa to 68 countries.
France has been offered with the business visa and Pakistani nationality without surrendering the French nationality which is an additional benefit to French traders and investors. All Greenfield investment has been exempted from RD on import of plants and machinery and GST for five years, which is a benefit for all foreign investors.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that Pakistani traders should come forward to learn French which is official language of 34 countries for improving opportunities of bilateral trade. Opportunities lie in various areas of Pakistan including human resource, minerals and agriculture sectors and the Country possesses exceptional raw material for investment and has distinguished position in regional countries. Single country exhibitions and trade visits should be increased to strengthen bilateral trade between the countries.