ISLAMABAD: More than a dozen French companies on Tuesday expressed their desire to invest in Pakistan.
“Pakistan has a favourable financial position and the security situation has improved tremendously during the last three years,” said M. Thierry Pflimlin, chairman of the France-Pakistan Business Council of MEDEF International and president of Total Global Services, while speaking to the media at the residence of the French ambassador.
Mr Pflimlin is heading a delegation of 16 French companies. The delegation is visiting Pakistan after a gap of 12 years from April 4 to 6.
“We have identified fields of cooperation... agriculture, food processing, hydroelectric and renewable energy, digitisation of the industry, electronics, information technology, LNG storage and re-gasification etc,” he said.
He said the objective of the visit is to understand Pakistan and the business opportunities it offers. He lauded the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), adding that Europe could also bring in investment for increased cooperation with Pakistan.
The three-day visit will provide the French companies with the opportunity to better understand Pakistan’s economic priorities.
The visit follows a meeting organised at the MEDEF International headquarters in Paris in September 2016 between the French companies and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who was accompanied by Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Miftah Ismail.
Mr Pflimlin said he and other delegates had “very deep and fruitful conversation” with BoI officials and the ministries of petroleum, planning, commerce and food. He also appreciated Pakistan for its highly professional and educated people.
The French delegation called on President Mamnoon Hussain and exchanged views on matters of mutual interest. The delegation will visit Karachi on Wednesday and meet the representatives of the Pakistan Business Council.
Meanwhile, the French delegation met Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday. Its members told the federal minister that they are aware of the rapidly changing situation as the CPEC is creating huge investment opportunities in Pakistan.
The minister invited the French businessmen to exploit these opportunities, saying they should also help Pakistan modernise its industrial sector.
He said the government is taking measures to enhance its trade volume with France.
Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2017