Karachi, During a farewell visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Belgian Ambassador Charles Delogne emphasized that although the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP Plus) status for Pakistan is extended until 2027, a new regulation will be implemented sooner. He urged the local business community to prepare for the early application required under the new regulatory framework.

According to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ambassador Delogne addressed the implications of the upcoming changes and the significance of GSP Plus for Pakistan's trade relations, particularly in light of its role in enhancing trade with the EU. He noted that the new regulation would focus on critical issues such as human rights, labor rights, and environmental standards, areas that are pivotal for Pakistan, which faces severe challenges from climate change.

The ambassador also highlighted the balanced trade relationship between Belgium and Pakistan, with both countries benefiting from robust trade exchanges. In 2023, the bilateral trade remained balanced, contributing positively to Pakistan's economic landscape without exacerbating its payment crises. Delogne praised Belgium's model of adding value to imported goods before exporting them again, underscoring the importance of foreign trade and free trade agreements to Belgium's economy.

During the meeting, Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, President of KCCI, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to fully implementing the GSP Plus benefits. He mentioned that Pakistan's exports to the EU had exceeded $8 billion in the fiscal year 2023, with Belgium being one of the largest export destinations within the EU. However, Sheikh acknowledged that the trade volume with Belgium was still below expectations and called for leveraging existing opportunities to enhance bilateral trade.

Sheikh also highlighted the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) established by the Pakistani government to attract and safeguard foreign investments in key sectors such as mining, energy, agriculture, and information technology. He encouraged Belgian companies to explore joint ventures in Pakistan, particularly in areas like agro-food, power generation, and pharmaceuticals, where Belgium's expertise could significantly impact.

Furthermore, Sheikh suggested that Pakistan and Belgium could benefit from increased collaboration in education and capacity building, which would bolster competitiveness and foster economic ties. He also proposed enhancing cooperation in ports and shipping, using Belgian expertise to improve Pakistan's port capacities and operational efficiencies.

The discussions underscored the potential for deepened economic relations between Belgium and Pakistan, with a focus on mutual growth and investment opportunities in various sectors.

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