Spanish Ambassador Manuel Durán Giménez-Rico has said that Pakistan and Spain have been enjoying cordial relations and trade ties between the two countries are growing, but more efforts are needed to enhance bilateral trade volume in various sectors. He said that Spain gives great importance to Pakistan for its trade ties, offering equal opportunity for this country to capture European trade markets.
The Spanish ambassador was talking to All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Syed Maaz Mahmood during a meeting held at the Embassy on Friday. APBF National Board Member Aamir Barri and APBF Lahore Board President Amir Munir were also present in the meeting.
Giménez-Rico said Pakistani businessmen should reach out to the outside world to show the potential of their products that would help in attracting more investment and promoting trade. He said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a highly positive development as it has generated a lot of interest of the foreign investors. He said both countries should focus on diversification to improve trade and identify other potential areas of mutual cooperation. He said APBF should take a sector-specific business delegation to Spain and assured that his embassy would cooperate to make this visit successful.
The Spanish Ambassador appreciated the role of APBF in boosting trade activities in the region and added that his embassy would be in touch with the Forum to increase the bilateral ties and bridge the gap between the business communities of the both countries. Business to Business meetings and exchange of trade delegates is very important to strengthen the trade ties between the two countries, he added.
President APBF Syed Maaz Mahmood congratulated him on his appointment in Pakistan and appreciated his predecessor ambassador Carlos Morales Sánchez, who has done a great job to make great interaction, taking several initiatives to strengthen people to people contacts of both countries.
He said that Pakistan’s major exports to Spain included few textiles products while Pakistan’s main imports from Spain consist of various kinds of machinery and parts, chemical materials and products, implying that bilateral trade is confined to few items. He stressed the need for focusing on various other areas to further promote bilateral trade.
He said that the frequent exchange of trade delegations and organizing single country exhibitions should be encouraged to promote trade and economic relations. He added that agreements for the economic cooperation should be made to promote business linkages between the private sectors of both countries.
Maaz Mahmood also discussed the APBF plan to collaborate with the Pakistan Embassy in Spain to identify opportunities for Pakistani products in Spanish market and share such information with local businessmen so that they could take measures to exploit unrealized business opportunities with Spain.
On this occasion the APBF delegation also discussed opportunities of bilateral trade and mutual cooperation between business communities of both the countries.
They pointed out that tourism has now turned into an industry, covering about 12 percent of its GDP, so there was a need to explore this area and Pakistan can gain huge benefit from this sector. They said the volume of bilateral trade has been stagnant at $1.11 billion for the last several years despite GSP Plus status to Pakistan, of which Pakistanis made $905 million worth of exports, while imports from Spain were only $208 million.
They briefed the ambassador about the APBF initiatives and efforts for the business community and academia in view of increasing bilateral trade between Pakistan and other countries by conducting conferences, seminars, arranging delegations and B2B arrangements.