22 May | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

GSP Plus will be re-negotiated after 720-member EU election

Netherlands Ambassador Henny De Vries visits Lahore Chamber; appreciates contribution of females with bright minds, and bright ideas in Pakistan’s development, prosperity

Ambassador of Netherlands Henny De Vries – while appreciating the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry for women empowerment – has said that females are half of Pakistan’s population with bright minds and bright ideas and can contribute a lot in the development, and prosperity.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber in Lahore, she said that GSP Plus will be re-negotiated after the 720-member European Parliament’s parliamentary election, scheduled to be held between June 6-to-9, 2024. The Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) was created to help developing countries integrate into the world economy. The GSP Plus is a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance.

The Netherlands ambassador told the audience that GSP Plus has given 900 million Euros in terms of relaxation through taxation which is a huge amount. Pakistan was awarded GSP Plus status in 2014 after this South Asian country had ratified 27 international conventions and committed to implement them. She said that Pakistan was a country with all possibilities, and a land of opportunities. “Pakistan can become much stronger,” she said.

Lahore Chamber President Kashif Anwar, Honorary Consul of Netherlands Asma Hamid, First Secretary for Political Affairs Lotte Hofste, LCCI Executive Committee members Fareeha Younas, Raja Hassan Akhter, Hakeem Muhammad Usman and Dr Shahid Raza were also present in the meeting. “Netherlands is extremely strong in agriculture and water management as the country is below the sea level and continuously fighting this problem,” the ambassador said.

“Punjab is very strong in agriculture sector. This is the reason why a lot of our projects in milk, egg processing and information technology sectors are here in this province,” she said, adding that Punjab was also doing impressive work in poultry – a very huge sector. She said that exchange of technology was important for the reforms. She said that Pakistan’s textile sector was also doing well and most of the textile goes to Netherlands through European Union.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan accords great importance to Netherlands as an important economy in the European Union. The economic progress of Netherlands is evident by the fact that its global exports are in excess of 936 billion dollars while its global imports are in excess of 840 billion dollars. “We are thankful to Netherlands for its continuous support to Pakistan with respect to the GSP Plus status,” he said.

He said that Pakistan considers the Netherlands a significant trading partner in Europe. Following the United Kingdom, the Netherlands stands as Pakistan’s second-largest export destination in Europe, and it ranks third among the top importing partners in the region. He said that both the countries were maintaining sound level of mutual trade. “There is tremendous potential to take the trade volume to at least five billion dollars,” he said.

Kashif Anwar said that exports to Netherlands were heavily concentrated in textile items. He said that Pakistan has a huge potential to enhance its exports to Netherlands by fulfilling needs of its market in the potential sectors like rice, pharmaceutical products, surgical equipment and sports good as well.

He said that tenth round of Pakistan-Netherlands bilateral political consultations was held last year in which the two sides discussed the entire scenario of bilateral relations in a range of areas, including political, economic, trade and investment, climate change, agriculture, water management, dairy and livestock, education and culture as well as regional and multilateral issues of common interest.

He said there was tremendous potential for Pakistan to benefit from the Dutch expertise in important areas like disaster risk reduction, water and flood management, promoting sustainable development and addressing climate change. He said that Pakistan can benefit from the transfer of technology from Netherlands through joint ventures in agriculture, processed food, dairy, mechanized farming and horticulture that would lead to increase in production and exports.

He mentioned that food processing industry was one of the largest segments of Dutch industry where food production has been automated to a large extent. He said that education was an important sector where the two countries can collaborate. “Netherlands can play an important role in the skill development of industrial workforce in Pakistan,” he said, and also shed light on aims and objectives of the Special Investment Facilitation Council.


Ambassador of Ethiopia Jemal Beker Abdula also visited the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, appreciated Look Africa and Engage Africa initiatives, and said that the investors need to enter and operate in Africa as Ethiopia provides security, safety and protection for all kind of investments in the region.

Ambassador of Ethiopia Jemal Beker Abdula visits Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ambassador of Ethiopia Jemal Beker Abdula visits Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry

LCCI President Kashif Anwar, Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Chaudhry, Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt and Ethiopia’s Honorary Consul General in Karachi Ibrahim Khalid Tawab also spoke on the occasion. Speaking at the Lahore Chamber, the Ethiopian ambassador said that LCCI has a big role in promotion of businesses in Pakistan and globally. He said that Ethiopian economy has been growing in double digit since last 20 years.

He said Ethiopia provides investment opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, surgical equipment, mining and tourism as it provides best sites in the world. He emphasized on working for collective prosperity of both the countries. He said Ethiopia produces 98 percent clean energy under the Green Economy and Green Legacy initiatives. It situated at a strategic location and considered as hub of e-commerce of Africa. He invited LCCI delegation to visit Ethiopia.

In his address, Kashif Anwar mentioned two important developments taken place in bilateral relations of Pakistan and Ethiopia. He said that both countries have recently signed bilateral trade agreement which will definitely fortify mutual trade volume which is still not at par keeping in view the actual potential. The second one was that direct flights have also started between Karachi and Addis Ababa which is not less than a great achievement.

“I hope that direct flights from other major cities of Pakistan like Lahore and Islamabad would also start in coming months,” he said. in recent years, he said that Pakistan has increasingly turned its attention towards the African continent. He said that Pakistan holds Africa in high esteem, recognizing the continent’s immense potential. He said that LCCI was keenly following Look Africa and Engage Africa policies made by government.

“We are also ready to define a clear roadmap for future interactions with Africa through promoting the government-to-government and private-to-private contacts,” he said, adding that among the African nations, Pakistan accords great importance to Ethiopia which stands out as a beacon of progress and growth, a testament to the resilience and determination of its people and leadership during the past few years.

The LCCI president said that Pakistan and Ethiopia enjoy cordial relations and diplomatic ties since 1958 and since then both the countries were working on bilateral, regional and global issues in a significant way. He said that both the countries were also part of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Congo, Liberia, Burundi, Somalia and South Sudan which showed convergence of their interests for international peace and security.

He said that since Ethiopia has African Union Secretariat, it adds significance to the relationship, aligning with Pakistan’s commitment to engaging under its Engage Africa policy. He said that these strong relations get hardly reflected in bilateral trade volume. He said that Pakistan has a huge potential to enhance its exports to Ethiopia by fulfilling the needs of Ethiopian market in the sectors like rice, pharmaceutical products, medical equipment, sports good, textiles and construction material.

He also said that Pakistan can import agricultural products such as coffee, tea, pulses, oil seeds and vegetables from Ethiopia at affordable prices. He said that both the countries can also collaborate in areas such as renewable energy, agriculture, security, tourism and combating climate change. He shed light on the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) established by the government, with a primary focus on expediting new investments in key sectors.