ISLAMABAD - A delegation of women entrepreneurs has left for a ten-day visit to explore the European market and find ways and means to boost exports.

The delegation, led by Islamabad Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) founder president Samina Fazil, included former IWCCI president Mumtaz Akhter, Munazza Arif, Shahida Mazhar, Rizwana Atif, Naadia Sami, Saadia Hassan, Anjum Arif and Safina Insaf. The team will visit Hungary and Italy and explore potential for unconventional exports while it will also meet the business community, trade officials and diplomats.

Before leaving for Hungary, the business women said they hoped to promote trade links in areas of common interests and explore avenues for export of made-in-Pakistan items. "We want to share expertise, learn about new designs and modern skills from their counterparts," Samina said, adding that they would also study new trends and requirements of interested clients as there was a great demand of Pakistani handicrafts, jewellers, clothing etc in Europe.

She said Europe was Pakistan's important trading partner accounting for 21.2 percent of Pakistan's total exports and 16 percent of its total imports. Pakistan's exports to Europe were dominated by textiles and clothing as well as leather products. "We should also focus on other exportable products to increase our share in the European market and reduce dependence on traditional exports," she added.

She said the trade volume between Pakistan and the EU was not very impressive, therefore, the local business community should explore the European market to exploit its potential to the maximum for which coordinated efforts were needed.  She thanked national business leader SM Muneer for extending every possible support to make their visit a success. Samina said the govt should send more business delegations to the EU, hold exhibitions and use all the methods to raise awareness about Pakistani products. Pakistan business community should look for out of the box solutions and explore Nordic countries, including Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to boost exports, she added.