LAHORE: The European Parliament is most likely to grant GSP Plus (Generalised Scheme of Preferences) status to Pakistan in its forthcoming meeting scheduled for December 2013.
Danish Ambassador to Pakistan Jesper Moller Sorensen stated this while talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry's President Farooq Iftikhar on Monday.
After attaining the GSP Plus, he said, Pakistani exports to European market would get a considerable boost, adding that Pakistan was a lucrative market having enormous investment potential due to low labour cost, rising middle class and a huge population of youth.
The ambassador said, “Our goal is to increase Danish exports of goods to Pakistan by 40 per cent in next three years. Denmark aims to increase trade ties with Pakistan. To better assist Danish companies on Pakistani market, the Embassy of Denmark in Islamabad will open a commercial section later this year.”
He said Denmark could provide state-of-the-art technology to Pakistan for energy and water conservation, water pumping and purification to help it overcome challenges in those areas.
Jesper Moller assured that all out support would be extended to Pakistan if Denmark-specific export strategy was put in place by the government of Pakistan. The ambassador, however, stressed the need for a new mechanism to improve Pakistan's perception that was keeping away all foreign investors in general and Danish businessmen in particular.
About Danish visa policy, the ambassador clarified, “We have a very liberal visa regime for genuine Pakistani businessmen so that they explore Danish market and have first hand knowledge about available business opportunities there.”
The LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said Danish businesses had strong grasp in areas such as wind, life science and health, energy efficiency and dairy production. “We wish to expand our relations by expanding trade and business,” he added.
He said Pakistan had a great market potential with a very strong livestock base. Danish dairy was famous worldwide, and transfer of technology in this area would certainly be beneficial, he said, asserting that Pakistan was 5th largest milk producing country in the world, therefore, investment in dairy products would yield best results.
Pakistan also has a huge potential for exporting surgical and sports items, he said and added that inexpensive agricultural land was abundantly available in Pakistan and enormous size of consumer market would certainly attract attention of Danish companies interested to expand their businesses in the sub-continent.
Iftikhar mentioned that Pakistan largely produced high quality of fresh fruits and vegetable, leather goods, fish, textile products, readymade garments and bed linen etc.
“The total Muslim population of Denmark is well over 200,000 and export of Halal Food items from Pakistan to Denmark can cater to the needs of the Pakistanis and the Muslim community residing there,” he observed.
Farooq Iftikhar said that energy was the most important issue in Pakistan right now as it was the backbone of every activity, so the Danish investors had a great opportunity to invest in this sector through joint ventures with local firms or a sole project by Danish investors.
He also invited attention of the ambassador towards strong wind corridors in many parts of Pakistan including Sindh, Northern Areas and South Punjab, and sought Danish investment and cooperation for energy production through this resource.
The LCCI president also stressed the need for exchange of business delegations between the two countries to boost the two-way trade.