LAHORE (PR) - EU Ambassador Jean Francois Cautain on Thursday visited the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade (PBIT) and appreciated the Punjab government for the steps it had taken for sustainable development and economic progress.

Provincial Minister Tahir Khalil Sindhu and PBIT CEO Haroon Shaukat received the EU ambassador along with senior officials. Shaukat briefed the visiting envoy about the progress made by the government of Punjab in terms of development and highlighted the prospects of future increase in exports to the EU.

The EU ambassador said that public and private sectors of Pakistan would have to work together to take full advantage of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) Plus status granted till 2023. “Due to GSP Plus, Pakistani exports to EU have increased by 78%. That is moving towards a win-win situation for both,” he said and emphasized that the 27th convention should fully be implemented to help the citizens of Pakistan.

Sindhu said that Pakistan’s global image did not fully depict its potential. He said that a complete rebranding of the country was needed in the eyes of international investors.

The PBIT CEO stated that despite the fact that EU Commission granted GSP Plus status to Pakistan, the potential benefits of this scheme could not be fully materialised. “We look forward to finding more and more opportunities of market penetration in other countries of EU,” he said and stressed the need for exploiting the potential by exporting agro-based processed food to EU in collaboration with European companies through joint ventures and transfer of technology.

Shaukat said that Pakistan was ranked in the list of top 10 countries introducing reforms for ease of doing business. “We are focusing on three major issues: terrorism, law and order and energy infrastructure. And the situation on all three fronts is improving,” he said.

He said that PBIT was organising a mega event to attract foreign investors in Punjab. The “International Seminar on Business Opportunities in Punjab” will introduce Punjab as an investment hub and will aim to share several success stories from within Pakistan to the international community. The ambassador said that EU would help to make “International Seminar on Business Opportunities in Punjab” a successful event. The meeting ended with vote of thanks.