Dinner in Honor of H.E. Mr. Peter Claes,Belgian Ambassador to Pakistan

Pakistan Belgium Business Forum (PBBF) organized a dinner reception in honour of Belgian Ambassador to Pakistan H. E. Mr. Peter Claes, on Wednesday 16th December, 2013.

Mr. Sameer Hamid Dodhy, President, PBBF welcomed H. E. Mr. Claes. H. E. Mr. Peter Claes in his address thanked PBBF. He then went on to gave a talk entitled “Belgium in Pakistan – an overview of recent developments and priorities “.

He stated that “this year marks 65 years of diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. During this time, bilateral relations have steadily grown in various domains. In line with its vocation, Belgium has always favoured to promote relations through trade and investment, rather than political rhetoric. According to figures of the Federal Board of Statistics of Pakistan, Belgium is currently Pakistan's 9th export market (from 12th position in 2012). Belgian export figures show that for the first 7 months of this year, Belgian export to Pakistan grew to Euro 200 million. Belgian companies take a lead in the development of renewable energies, agro-business or waste management in Pakistan, to name just a few sectors.

With the approval by the European Parliament on December 12th of the GSP+ package to Pakistan, it is expected that exports of Pakistan’s textiles to the EU will significantly increase. Since Belgium remains one of the principal ports of entry to the EU, this may further benefit the trade figures.

Trade is not the whole picture. More and more bright Pakistani students find their ways to Belgian universities, a tendency Belgium encourages by making visa procedures easier. Due to the image of Pakistan abroad, it is challenging to develop activities in Pakistan of a cultural or social nature involving guests from Belgium. But encouraged by current positive tendencies, opportunities arise.

Belgium remains a partner of Pakistan in its search for long-term development, mainly through its influence and vote in international fora that take appropriate decisions in close cooperation with the Government of Pakistan. It is also a reliable partner to come to help when nature strikes.

"Small is beautiful". Belgium enjoys an excellent reputation in Pakistan and it endeavors to continue its cooperation with Pakistan in a spirit of mutual benefit and respect.”

Mr. Mohammed A.Rajpar gave the vote of thanks and underscored the significance of the strengthening and expanding economic and trade relations between Pakistan and Belgium.

Several dignitaries and eminent businessmen, members of PBBF, diplomats and representatives of print and electronic media attended the function.