KARACHI: French companies would like to explore the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and try to discuss entry points after negotiations, Ambassador of France to Pakistan Dr Marc Barety said on Monday.
“The French president during his recent visit to China had already given his views on CPEC which he believed to be a good connectivity for the region.
“As a matter of fact we are not waiting for CPEC because French companies are already investing in Pakistan but still in future would like to explore it and find a space on getting equal opportunity,” the envoy said while talking to newsmen after inaugurating a bed linen factory set-up under a joint venture between French company Duquennoy et Lepers and Pakistani company D L Nash (Pvt) Ltd.
Dr Barety disclosed that France has a portfolio of €700 million for development projects in Pakistan, with an increase €150 million on pro rata basis.
He added that €150m has been allocated for Jagran Hydro Power Plant and around €70m have been already spent on the project.
The French envoy said there was an urgent need for the two countries to diversify their trade.
Presently, bilateral trade is restricted to few items, with France mostly exporting high tech plants and machinery (including turbine for power plants and helicopters) while Pakistan’s exports are restricted to textile goods only.
French companies are interested in waste management and water treatment projects and would also like to enter into areas like green and sustainable management in big cities, he added.
Responding to a question, the French envoy said that currently most potential sectors for investment in Pakistan are energy and transport. In the agriculture sector, there is a big scope but a lot of work has to be done for finding matching investors, he added.
He said Pakistan enjoys trade surplus with France as the former exports are at $800m and latter at $600m.
Already four big French companies are operating in Pakistan, he said, and recently a popular French auto brand Renault through Dubai-based company Al-Futaim has decided to set-up a car assembly plant in Pakistan.
Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2018