KARACHI: The local private sector can make inroads into the French market with greater ease because of access to bank loans after credit insurance agency Coface resumed its coverage of Pakistan last year, Head of the Economic Department at the Embassy of France in Pakistan Eric Noitakis said on Tuesday.

“For private sector, we can provide funds of up to 50 million euros ($56.9m), which is quite substantial,” Mr Noitakis said.

“Foundation for more prosperous and conducive economic relationship between the two countries has been laid,” Mr Noitakis said later in the evening while speaking at the second annual general meeting of Pakistan-France Business Alliance (PFBA).

PFBA Patron-in-Chief and Ambassador of France to Pakistan Martine Dorance was the chief guest on the occasion.

Thibaut Fabre, director South Asia of Business France, and Dominique Frachon, in-charge South Asia of Invest in France agency, participated as special guests.

He added that bilateral trade has been above $1 billion mark for five years now, though France exports have waned. “Our exports to Pakistan have never crossed the $500m threshold,” he said.

Ms Dorance said France wanted closer commercial relations with Pakistan and saw its market with interest. “Pakistan is a place where serious business can be done. There are lot of opportunities for joint ventures, too,” she added.

PFBA Chairman and CEO Jamil Hamdani said foreign investment was the key to developing major economic sectors. “If the Government of Pakistan takes adequate measures to facilitate foreign investment, foreign investors, including the large French multinationals in energy, agro-food, transport and water and sanitation sectors, will have to revise their outlook of Pakistan,” he suggested.

However, he added, the economic potential of the country has been under-exploited by local investors and under-estimated by foreign investors. “I hope that the new automotive policy will encourage European automobile manufacturers to enter the field.”

French companies in Pakistan employ about 5,500 people, he said. Some of the major firms include Total, Lafarge, L’Oréal and Sanofi.

He urged Mr Fabre of Business France to reconsider the “unfortunate decision” (taken in 2013) to wind up the official French commercial representation in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2016



UAE targeted
Updated 19 Jan, 2022

UAE targeted

MONDAY’S deadly drone strikes by Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting the UAE, and subsequent retaliatory attacks on...
19 Jan, 2022

New province debate

THE private bill introduced by a PML-N senator seeking a new province in south Punjab amounts to oversimplification...
19 Jan, 2022

Omicron in Karachi

WITH the wedding season in full swing, it is no surprise that the Covid positivity rate in Karachi has been touching...
The establishment pivot
18 Jan, 2022

The establishment pivot

It is a sad reality that the power matrix continues to revolve around the establishment.
18 Jan, 2022

Remittances growth

THE hefty growth in remittances from Pakistanis living abroad continues to defy forecasts to the contrary. New State...
18 Jan, 2022

China-Iran deal

THE China-Iran strategic deal that has recently taken effect is more than just a long-term bilateral agreement...