Mr. Sajjad H Karim, Conservative Member and founder Chairman of the Friends of Pakistan Committee in the European Parliament, reaffirmed his continued support for helping Pakistan gain greater market access to the EU. He made these comments on Thursday while speaking at a luncheon meeting hosted in his honor by the Pakistan Business Council a private sector business policy think-tank funded by 28 of Pakistan’s leading business groups including multinationals.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Karim highlighted the options that were being debated in Brussels for granting Pakistan a one off, time bound access to the EU markets for its textiles. This onetime concession was being given to help mitigate the colossal losses which have been caused by the recent floods and is part of the EU’s efforts to help rehabilitate the flood ravaged economy. Replying to a query regarding the possibility of converting this one time wavier into a longer term measure, Mr. Karim was of the opinion that though this looked difficult at the moment, it could be achieved if Pakistan continued to build on the groundwork done by the Pakistani delegation headed by the Foreign Minister which recently visited some important European Capitals. He also appreciated the analytical work done by members of the PBC who accompanied the Pakistani delegation namely Mr. Bashir Ali Mohammad and Mr. Shabbir Diwan and urged Pakistan to continue to take a proactive result oriented approach when dealing with the EU.
Mr. Shabbir Diwan, one of the PBC members who accompanied the Foreign Minister spoke of the goodwill that existed in the EU towards Pakistan especially in the wake of the devastating floods. Mr. Diwan appreciated the efforts of Mr. Sajjad Karim and his colleagues in the European Parliament who supported Pakistan in its efforts to get greater market access.
Also speaking on the occasion, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, former Federal Minister for Commerce in whose tenure the EU had granted Pakistan greater market access, stated that Pakistani industry needs to help the Government of Pakistan develop a strong case for market access. He suggested that other trade associations such as APTMA partner with the PBC to help substantiate Pakistan’s case for long term market access to the EU.
Earlier, Mr. Kamran Y Mirza, the CEO of the Pakistan Business Council, introduced Mr. Sajjad Karim to the audience highlighting the outstanding work that Mr. Sajjad Karim, since his election to the European Parliament in 2004 and subsequent re-election in 2009 has done to promote greater Pakistan – EU trade. Also present at the meeting were Mr. Iqbal Lakhani, Mian Umer Mansha, Mr. Mohammad Ali Tabba, Mr. Nadeem Abdullah, Mr. Fawad Ahmed Mukhtar, Mr. Shaukat Elahi Sheikh and Mr. Gohar Ejaz among others.