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Netherlands Envoy Calls On Secretary Commerce

ISLAMABAD, May 7 (APP):Ambassador of Netherlands to Pakistan Ardi Stoios-Braken called on Federal Secretary Commerce Mohammad Younus Dagha here Monday.
The secretary welcomed the ambassador and said that Pakistan and Netherlands enjoyed friendly and cooperative relations.
According to a press release, the Netherlands is not only Pakistan’s fourth largest trade partner in the EU but also an important source of foreign investment in Pakistan.
Bilateral trade between the two countries had crossed the US$ 1.21 billion mark during 2016-17 and in July-April 2017-18 total trade volume was US$ 1.54 billion. Out of which, exports stood at US$716.18 Million and imports US$ 831.18 million.
The secretary said bilateral trade relations had further strengthened with the investment of Euro 420 million by Friesland Campina to acquire 51% share of Engro Foods. “This investment was followed by SPAR and Frisian Eggs as they also entered the Pakistani market by establishing Joint Ventures.”
Younus Dagha said it was heartening to note that Dutch companies took keen interest in the Pakistani market and the biggest trade delegation from the EU comprising of 38 Dutch companies participated in Expo 2017. “Though we are generally satisfied with the overall positive trajectory in our bilateral relations, we feel there is a great potential to further enhance our bilateral trade and investment,” he noted.
He said Pakistan would like to benefit from the Dutch expertise in Agro based industry and seek their support in capacity building in the field of water management, agriculture and infrastructure development.
The secretary said the Commerce Division was fully cognizant of the issue faced by Friesland Campina regarding regulatory duty on dry milk and was closely working with the stakeholders to find an amicable solution, accordingly, the Ministry of National Food Security and Pakistan Customs have been sensitized.
Younus Dagha said the Commerce Division greatly appreciated the work of CBI (Centre for promotion of imports from developing countries) but it observed that the CBI had decided not to continue with launching a new program for Pakistan’s textile sector.
He requested the envoy for support for initiating a new programme for Pakistan’s small and medium enterprises.
He thanked the Dutch government for extending their support to Pakistan for continuation of the GSP plus scheme and hoped that Pakistan would continue receiving their support in this regard as it had helped Pakistan in a significant way in overcoming its economic difficulties.
He also requested the ambassador to advise the Dutch government to revise the negative travel advisory for Pakistan which greatly hampers the establishment of gainful partnership between the businesses of both countries.
The ambassador thanked the Secretary Commerce for the warm welcome and appreciated the support of the Government of Pakistan in resolving the issues faced by the Dutch Companies.
She said that Pakistan was a lucrative market for investment and currently several Dutch Companies including Shell, Philips, Unilever, Akzo-Nobel and VEON (parent company of Mobilink) were operating in Pakistan.
She said that both the countries need to enhance their bilateral relations and further increase cooperation in sectors like Agriculture, Energy and Dairy Products.