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Saturday June 22, 2024

Poland, Pakistan look to double trade volume amid GSP+ deal

By Our Correspondent
May 23, 2024
Ambassador of Poland to Pakistan Maciej Pisarski speaks at an event. — X/@IWMI_/File
Ambassador of Poland to Pakistan Maciej Pisarski speaks at an event. — X/@IWMI_/File

KARACHI: Poland and Pakistan are seeking to expand trade ties, with a focus on boosting exports and investments, amid the GSP Plus arrangement that provides duty-free access for Pakistani goods to the Polish market.

“Keeping in view the enormity of potential, we would like to approach this existing potential by doing what we are doing today, i.e., bringing Polish businesspeople to Pakistan, introducing them to potential Pakistani partners, and letting them explore Pakistan in terms of future partnerships, besides helping them gain firsthand experience,” Maciej Pisarski Polish ambassador, said at a meeting with business leaders of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday.

The envoy said that the Polish business community was very confident and had developed interesting offers not only for traditional markets but also to be able to go global. “This is what we are doing, and we are very thankful to the Ministry of Climate for sponsoring this trip to Pakistan. This is exactly the type of activity that the embassy and public administration can and must undertake to reinvigorate our cooperation.”

Pisarski said Poland’s economy currently stands at the 21st position with a size of $1.4 trillion. It is the sixth largest economy in the European Union, characterized by enormous dynamism, an innovative approach, and huge resistance. Since 1990, the Polish economy has grown by 900 percent. This year, Polish imports and exports stood at around $700 billion.

He emphasised the need to expand Polish-Pakistan trade. The overall trade volume between Poland and Pakistan has reached more than $920 million, of which Pakistan exported goods worth $800 million due to the GSP Plus arrangement, which provides duty-free access for Pakistani goods to the Polish market. Meanwhile, Poland’s exports to Pakistan stood at $128 million last year.

Iftikhar Ahmed Sheikh, president of KCCI said despite growing diplomatic and cordial relationships, the trade potential remains largely untapped. "Hence, there is a pressing need to expand trade, investment, economic, cultural, and people-to-people relations to fully realize the benefits of partnership between the two countries," he added.

Pakistan's strong textile manufacturing capabilities encompass yarn production, fabric weaving, and garment production. With high demand in Poland's market, there are significant investment opportunities for Polish firms to establish textile manufacturing units or form partnerships with existing Pakistani manufacturers, leveraging both nations' business and labor forces.

Pakistan can also attract Polish investment by promoting its Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and offering incentives such as tax and customs duty exemptions, as well as streamlined regulatory processes. Polish firms can explore opportunities in textiles, agriculture, and tourism, while showcasing their potential in machinery, electricity, ferrous metals, motor vehicles, plastics, paper products, chemicals, processed food, beauty products, and oilseeds to Pakistani investors, the KCCI chief said.

President KCCI pointed out that Pakistani exporters face significant inspection challenges, including limited technical resources and customs delays. "To address these issues, prioritizing market preferences, planning awareness sessions for farmers, and enhancing government cooperation on pesticide-related concerns and laboratory testing are essential. Additionally, nominating a third-party laboratory for evaluating goods during shipping can ensure better adherence to regulations."

Sheikh stressed that promoting collaboration in education and technology can lead to substantial benefits for both countries. Initiatives such as academic exchange programs, collaborative research projects, and online training platforms can facilitate the exchange of knowledge and technical expertise between Pakistan and Poland. "Hosting a series of trade events like exhibitions, trade fairs, and networking sessions can pave the way for new business opportunities. These events will enable Pakistani and Polish entrepreneurs to interact directly, showcase their products and services, and build lasting business relationships."

He was of the opinion that developing a joint digital platform by the chambers of commerce of both countries can significantly streamline trade and investment promotion. Such a platform could offer comprehensive services, including market intelligence, legal advisory, and business matchmaking, besides helping businesses stay informed and connected with the latest market trends and regulatory updates.