Great scope for better trade with Switzerland: CG
KARACHI: The Consul General of Switzerland in Karachi, Mr Philippe Crevoisier, has said that the investment and trade figures between the two countries were encouraging but were still low. This needed to be improved but this is not going to be an easy task.
Speaking at a meeting the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said that although the potential for more trade exists, efforts must be made to improve the image of Pakistan in order in Switzerland to transform this situation into success.
“In order to attract more Swiss business and investment in Karachi, we will have to concentrate on improving the perception about the security situation of Karachi and the overall image of Pakistan, which is of big importance,” he said.
Philippe Crevoisier pointed out that Switzerland has been in Pakistan since its independence and many Swiss companies were successfully doing business here in Karachi. “We are being represented not only in Islamabad but also in Karachi which is a very good sign as many European countries were not present here. This clearly indicates that we actually see the potential and I am trying to understand how to transform this potential into a success story,” he added.
Philippe Crevoisier said that Switzerland’s industry consists of 80 percent SMEs which were well-organized to quickly react to numerous markets and they were looking forward to enhancing their exports to new markets. But Pakistan was not on the priority list of these companies mainly due to the negative perception it conveys.
He was convinced that the overall security situation was much better, compared what it used to be. Its improvement in the last few years was likely to encourage many Swiss companies to get into this market and look for opportunities.
He said that Karachi has a huge potential for Swiss companies, and it is a good sign that many businessmen from Karachi were eager to do business with Switzerland.
KCCI president Shamim Ahmed Firpo said that Karachi, which is the economic and financial hub of Pakistan, offers profitable investment opportunities and added facilities for investment and joint ventures to Swiss Investors.
This city, which contributes more than 65 percent revenue to the national exchequer, is an attractive place for Swiss SMEs, which can earn maximum profits by exploring opportunities in Karachi.
Commenting on Pakistan-Switzerland relations, he said the two countries have always enjoyed cordial, friendly and multi-faceted ties. It is heartening to note that Switzerland is ranked fifth in terms of foreign direct investment in Pakistan and was a reliable trading partner.
He said that many Swiss companies operating in Pakistan are engaged in sectors including energy, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, agricultural solutions, catering, cigarette manufacturing, food, telecommunication, quality testing, machinery and construction material. The business community warmly welcomes this but many other important sectors also offer lucrative opportunities, and exploring opportunities in these sectors should be considered by Swiss companies.
He noted that during FY2015-16, Pakistan exported goods worth $65 million to Switzerland, as against exports of $94 million during the same period in the preceding year, showing a decline of 31 percent, which needs attention. Imports from Switzerland increased by 13.5 percent, compared to $736 million, compared to $648 million a year earlier. The trade balance is therefore heavily tilted in favour of Switzerland, he added.
He was of the view that potential exists for Swiss businessmen to invest in Pakistan on 100 percent equity basis or as joint ventures with local industries. Pakistan can greatly benefit from Swiss expertise in energy, mining and agriculture, as well as the equity market. The possibility of cooperation also exists in supply of raw materials and finished products for fertilizers, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, he added.
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