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Commerce secy meets C4 countries envoys

ISLAMABAD: Commerce (Trade Diplomacy) Additional Secretary Javed Akbar Bhatti chaired a meeting with a delegation of ambassadors from cotton four (C4) countries led by Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Benin Eloi Laourou on Monday.
The secretary welcomed the delegation, and said Pakistan was keen for bilateral and trade relations with African countries, including C4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali), as it would strengthen relations and help explore new avenues of cooperation. “Cotton plays an important role in Pakistan's economy as we produce 12 million to 14 million bales annually and in 2016-17 we witnessed a growth of 7.59 percent in cotton production. Pakistan is one of the few countries that have the complete value chain from cotton production to fashion garments", he added.
He further said Pakistan recognises the role of the C4 in raising the profile of cotton in the World Trade Organisation, especially the impact of trade distorting policies of the developed countries on the poor farmers of the developing and the least developed countries.
“This technical assistance to C4 countries fits well within Pakistan's strategy in reaching out to African countries furthermore the resources allocated in this regard will deepen our engagements with African region,” the secretary added.
Bhatti informed the delegation that Ministry of Commerce has launched "Look Africa Initiative" to strengthen bilateral trade and investment relations with the African region and current interaction on cotton related activities provides an excellent opportunity to learn from each other and expand cooperation beyond cotton production. “I hope your visit to state of the art research facilities in Faisalabad, Multan and Lahore will provide an excellent opportunity to enhance cooperation in cotton research with Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad and Benin,” he added.
Eloi Laourou said Pakistan’s assistance was needed for value-addition in cotton, as well as technical assistance was required in agriculture, energy and renewable energy.
“We are more concerned about the betterment in the yield and better seeds of cotton and we want to take advantage of the Pakistani expertise,” he added. The Pakistani commerce secretary assured of full support and technical assistance to the C4 countries, and said the cooperation between Pakistan and C4 countries should exceed in other areas as well.
Source: The News