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Safar 15, 1440 A.H.
October 25, 2018

Didier Talpain for building Pak image to attract French businessmen, investors

KARACHI: Consul General of France Didier Talpain has said that bilateral trade between France and Pakistan was not that high and it was quite low which was mainly due to persisting negative perception and misconception about the security situation in Pakistan therefore it was necessary to focus on building the image of the country.The misconception about security situation still remains in minds of many French businessmen despite the fact that the situation was much better as compared to what it had been before 2013, he added while exchanging views at a meeting with President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid and KCCI Managing Committee during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. French CG said that it was their job at the French Embassy and its Consulate to explain it to the French business community that the security situation was much better and they were doing so with a view to promote bilateral trade and encourage investors to explore this important market where some French companies were already doing good businesses. Stressing the need for enhanced trade relations with Pakistan and expanding cooperation between the two countries, he said that many French companies are keen to come to Pakistan and invest in various fields. He also inquired about various facilities which will be provided to foreign investors intending to set up their units in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being established in Karachi and Sindh.

Earlier, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, while highlighting the investment potential of Karachi, stated that with improved law and order situation, Karachi offers a lot to French investors who can surely benefit from the situation by investing or undertaking joint ventures in Karachi. He said that France and Pakistan share cordial relations based on military, defense, cultural, educational cooperation and economic ties while trade between the two countries has generally been steady. He pointed out that during 2017, Pakistan exported goods of worth $970.9 million to France as against exports of $859.7 million in 2016, showing an increase of 13%. The goods imported by Pakistan from France were recorded at $607.6 million during 2017 as against imports of $615.7 million in 2016, showing a decline of 1.3%. He also appreciated France’s support to Pakistan in grant of EU's GSP Plus status that has helped in further enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries however, the existing trade volume was still too low as compared to the potential. He underscored the need to make collective efforts to pave way for improved trade relations between the two friendly countries. “There is also a need to enhance interaction between the business communities of Pakistan and France which, I am sure, would yield positive result and create a win-win situation for both the economies”, he added while urging the French business community to invest in the Special Economic Zones in Karachi and Sindh where they can enjoy numerous facilities including tax holiday for up to a period of 10 years, one-window facility along with uninterrupted water, electricity and gas supply. While referring to the potential for enhancing bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and France, Junaid Makda stated that France was a major supplier of defense equipment, machinery and electronics. In this regard, France can cooperate in establishing industries in Pakistan by utilizing low cost labor available here and also help in technology transfer. “Moreover, France is also a good market for Pakistani textile products, especially readymade garments, bed wear and knitwear”, he opined. Junaid Makda stated that being the Council Member of World Chambers Federation (WCF) and International Chambers of Commerce (ICC), he has been actively striving hard to play the role of bridge between KCCI and other Chambers around the world including France. In this regard, he requested French Consul General to help KCCI in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with its peer Chambers in France. He also invited French companies to participate in 16th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony Exhibition which is scheduled to be organized in the month of April 2019 which would provide an excellent opportunity to French businesses to showcase their products and create strong linkages with their counterparts in Karachi by holding B2B meetings in a cordial atmosphere.