Norwegian Ambassador to Pakistan Cecilie Landsverk has said that Pakistan is on the priority list of Norway with special focus on trade and investment and energy.
The ambassador was talking to LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI Senior Vice President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad, former Presidents Bashir A Baksh, Mian Misbahur Rehman, former Senior Vice President Tahir Javaid Malik and former Vice President Saeeda Nazar and Executive Committee Members also spoke on the occasion.
The ambassador said that since a second recession has hit Europe in recent years therefore there is a widespread understanding that Asia is the future of the world and many countries are fast developing their relations with Asia. She said that Pakistan is very close to the hearts of the Norwegians as a large number of Pakistanis are residing in Norway and contributing to our welfare.
The Ambassador said that Norway has good expertise in hydro power and it is ready to extend cooperation but an active engagement of authorities is absolutely necessary in this area of mutual interest.
She said that Pakistan has fantastic potential, it can generate huge electricity through its hydropower resources to tackle energy shortfall.
Hydropower is the best way to bridge the gap between electricity generation and consumption which will improve the ratio of low-cost electricity in the system to stabilise the tariff, said Cecilie Landsverk.
She said that Norwegian investors are also interested in promising onshore and offshore gas sectors of Pakistan. Ms Landsverk advised Pakistani business community to focus on food chains and quality goods if it is interested in doing business in Norway. There exists great business possibilities but perception in West about Pakistan is not improving since last few years which is blocking investment, she added. International business community is more concerned than they should be, she underlined.
The Ambassador said that there is a need to make more concerted and sector-specific efforts to enhance economic cooperation between the two countries and Norway is ready to take all steps to expand its ties with Pakistan for socio-economic development of the country.
Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that bilateral trade data reveals that both Norway and Pakistan have to raise their level of economic cooperation. He said that the current level of trade between the two countries is at the minimal level and has not made any significant headway over the last couple of years.
The LCCI President said that though the balance of trade is in favour of Pakistan but the volume of bilateral trade is required to be boosted up which reached just at $72.3 million in 2011. He hoped that direct interaction between the business communities of two countries can make it possible to cause quantum jump in trade figures.