Lahore:Ambassador of European Union delegation to Pakistan Lars Gunnar Wigemark, visited Punjab board of investment & trade (PBIT) today. He was accompanied by his wife and Husnain A. Iftakhar, the trade officer of the EU to Pakistan. The delegation was warmly welcomed by Javed Akbar, Chief Executive Office PBIT at arrival.
The Ambassador was given a comprehensive briefing on the economic potential of Punjab and areas wherein the EU can further accentuate the economic development in the region. CEO PBIT appreciated the provision of the Autonomous trade preferences to Pakistan in wake of the devastating floods of 2010 and 2011 and further hoped that Pakistan will be able to gain increased access to the EU market once its inclusion in the upcoming GSP plus scheme of 2014 is finalized. CEO further emphasized on the need to diversify the exportable product range from Pakistan to EU as well as market diversification within the EU region. In the context of trade CEO PBIT highlighted the services such as trade facilitation including matchmaking and market intelligence and alternative Dispute resolution being offered by PBIT.
The Ambassador of EU appreciated the efforts being undertaken at PBIT and assured of his complete support to PBIT for trade expansion between Pakistan and EU Region. At the occasion the idea to hold a Punjab-EU Business event was also suggested by the Ambassador, which is hoped to create awareness amongst EU and Punjab of each other’s market potential and develop extended business linkages. The Ambassador Mr Lars Gunnar WIGEMARK was optimistic of fruitful business ventures in the future considering the democratic process in Pakistan has seen stability.
CEO showcased the recently approved SEZ Act 2012, under which exemption from customs duties and taxes for all capital goods imported into Pakistan for the development, operations and maintenance of a SEZ; exemption from all taxes on income accruable in relation to the development and operations of the SEZ for a period of 10 years, starting from the date of signing of the development agreement will become affective for the investors. He highlighted that PBIT will be housing the SEZ Authority within PBIT and will play an active facilitator role for prospective local and foreign investors in months to come.
It is pertinent to mention here that currently EU region is the largest trade partner of Pakistan with a trade of over 8 million Euros in 2011-12. 70% of the exports of Pakistan to EU consist of textiles. EU has been engaged in provision of technical assistance for boosting of trade from Pakistan in areas of quality conformity, accreditation, intellectual property and development of the agriculture sector, gem stones, leather and energy etc.