ISLAMABAD: The two-day meeting of 6th Pakistan-Tunisia Joint Ministerial Commission began in Islamabad on Monday to enhance trade relations between the two countries. Pakistan side is being represented by Minister for Industries Mushtaq Ali Cheema, while Minister for Industries and Energy Mr. Afif Chelbi is lead the Tunisian delegation. In his opening remarks Minister for Industries Mushaq Ali Cheema said Pakistan and Tunis have always enjoyed close and cordial relations. He said we share common values and views on a broad range of regional and international issues. He said we believe that there is still room for expanding bilateral cooperation and deepening our relationship.
Mr. Cheema said Pakistan grately admires the spectacular progress achieved by the Republic of Tunis under the able and sagacious leadership of President of Republic of Tunisia Mr. Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. He said our bilateral trade and economic relations are not commensurate with the relationship and common bond that exists between the two countries. The total volume of bilateral trade between the two coutnires during 2006-07 was 25 million dollars which is far below the true potential of both the economies and urged the need to increase the existing trade valumes and review the tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Regarding Pakistan’s eocnomic performance, the Minister said due to therekentless efforts of President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Pakistan’s economy has made remarkable progress over the last six years. He said the investment climate in Pakistan is characterized by steadly liberlization, privatization and deregulation. A significant increase in foreign investment, which crossed 6.3 billion dollars in 20076-07 is an ample reflection of our policies.
He said the governemnt is committed to further improving the enabling environment for growth in trade and investment, especially in the private sector. The Minster said Agriculture Sector in Pakistan has a lot to offer both in the form of products and knowledge. Human resource development is another area where Pakistan will be happy to cooperate with Tunis. Pakistan is already providing educational facilites to the Tunisian students in our premier professional institutions.
Tunisian Minister for Energy and Industries Afif Chelbiit is an opportunity to lay stress on the genuine desire and willingness of President Ben Ali to further develop the partnership and eocnomic cooperation between the two countries. To achieve this goal, we are willing to work jointly draw up a working plan to explore the promising secors in our future cooperation. He said political relations between the two countires militates in favour of an improvement of the economic, commercial, cultural, scientific and technical relations. He hoped to see coopeation in all fiels and partnership to be build on solid bases.
Mr. Afif Chelbi said both sides will work more for the reinforcement and the diversification of the economic cooperation and partnership. He invited Pakistani partners and industrialists to explore investment opportunities and to benefit from the advantages that offer Tunisia to the foreign investors. He also offered businessment and industralialists to take profit from the Association Agreement signed in 1995 and the Free Trade Area between Tunisia and the European Union which will be operative by January 2008.-SANA