The Netherlands has invited Pakistani entrepreneurs to form joint ventures with their counterparts in the European nation in food processing, poultry, maritime, shipping, agriculture, logistics and other potential areas.
The tie-up was proposed by Netherlands Ambassador Wouter Plomp while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
The envoy said that a delegation of nine Pakistani cheese making companies was visiting the Netherlands to learn about modern processes. “The Netherlands is ready to share its knowledge with Pakistan,” he said.
Responding to a question, the Dutch ambassador said that in order to stay in the GSP Plus programme, Islamabad would have to implement all conventions.
Plomp stressed the need for establishing strengthened mutual trade ties between the Netherlands and Pakistan. “There are bright opportunities to develop business-to-business contacts between the businessmen of both sides.”
He said that the private sector of Pakistan should come forward and tap and explore the untapped potential of the Netherlands market to promote bilateral trade between the two countries.
He recalled that The Dutch East India Company had sent a delegation to Lahore 200 years ago.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said “the Netherlands is known as ‘the flower shop of the world’ as it is the leading country in the global production and trading of flowers”.
Other factors that differentiate the Netherlands from the rest of the world are its cheese, wooden shoes, wind mills, coffee shops, soccer and countryside areas.
Kabir said that Pakistan always considered the Netherlands as a key trading partner in Europe. After the UK and Germany, the Netherlands is the third top export destination for Pakistan whereas it comes at the fifth place among the top import destinations.
According to the State Bank of Pakistan, the overall trade between the two countries in 2020-21 was around $1.6 billion. Pakistan’s exports to the Netherlands were to the tune of $1.1 billion and imports were $467 million.
The level of bilateral trade has surpassed $2 billion due to a considerable increase in exports that have risen to $1.33 billion in the first 11 months of the just ended financial year.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 6th, 2022.