FAISALABAD: More than 30 German companies are already working in Pakistan while efforts are being made to attract more German investment in order to enhance current trade volume between the two countries. In this connection two-three German trade delegations are expected to visit Pakistan next year, said Mr. Bernhard Schlagheck, Ambassador of Germany, Islamabad.
During a meeting in Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) here today, he said that he has just taken over the office of ambassador about three months ago and it is his first visit to Faisalabad.
He told that just two weeks ago, he had visited Lahore where he had series of meetings with government and official sectors in addition to parliamentarians and leading businessmen. He said that after this visit, it had become compulsory for him to visit Faisalabad which is main industrial hub of Pakistan.
Regarding enhancement of bilateral trade, he said that private sector is considered as economic engine of any country and we must encourage direct relations between the private sectors of the two countries.
He explained in details about the economic strength of Germany and said that its robust SME sector is contributing a major role in the overall development of this country. “Most of these units are family-owned but conservative and probably similar to Pakistan and hence we must try our optimum best to encourage linkages between these sectors”, he added.
He told that next year, two delegations regarding textile and chemical will visit Pakistan while yet another delegation on renewable energy is also in the pipeline. He hoped that these delegations will have direct links and by themselves explore the business opportunities available in Pakistan.
He also proposed that Pakistani ambassador in Germany should also arrange investment seminars in important chambers of Germany. He assured to extend full facilitation in organizing these events.
Mr. Bernhard Schlagheck also mentioned the German cooperation in environment, health, good governance and vocational training and said that he also intends to encourage female entrepreneurs so that they could contribute their productive role in the overall economy of Pakistan. In this connection, I had discussed various related issues with the Vice Chancellors of the National Textile University (NTU) and University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF). However, he said that society should also play its role in providing congenial environment to its female population.
He told that in Germany, vocational and practical training is being focused to harvest its immediate economic benefits and in this connection, Germany can arrange exchange of faculties to replicate this model in Pakistan.
Regarding visas, he said that it is very ticklish issue and he cannot give any immediate assurance. However he will try to redress these complaints to some extent.
Mr. Martin Herzer, Head of Economic Section Embassy of German, also addressed the meeting and explained in details the efforts being made to give a quantum jump to the bilateral trade between the two countries.
Earlier in his address of welcome, acting President Zafar Iqbal Sarwar briefed the meeting about FCCI and Faisalabad. He said that although textile is the iconic identification of Faisalabad yet other sectors are also contributing their role in the overall development of Pakistan.
About bilateral trade between the two countries, he told that German exports are around 3 billion euro whereas Pakistani exports are only 1.3 billion euro. He said that Pakistan wants to create a win-win situation for both countries and hence we suggest that German industrialists should invest in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which has offered a wide range of opportunities for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). In this connection, German could invest in renewable energy, manufacturing of textile machinery, auto mobile, engineering, chemical and many other sectors. “Pakistan will provide them a huge market while they could also export their surplus to the landlocked Central Asian States”, he added.
Earlier, a documentary on Faisalabad and FCCI was screened while a comprehensive question-answer session was also held in which Dr Habib Aslam Gaba, Engineer Ahmad Hasan, Miss Qurratul Ain, President Faisalabad Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FWCCI), Madam Robina Amjad, Dr Sajjad Arshad, Imran Ahmad, Naveed Gulzar and other members also participated.
Later, Mr. Imran Ahmad along with acting President Zafar Iqbal Sarwar presented FCCI shield to German Ambassador Mr. Bernhard Schlagheck while Engineer Asim Munir offered vote of thanks.
Before his departure from FCCI, a group photo was also arranged with German Ambassador.