The Netherlands has launched the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) from July 1 to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in emerging markets and developing countries including Pakistan.
"It will create new local jobs and increase the production capacity of the local industry, and Pakistani SMEs should take benefit of this scheme to promote business activities", observed Marcel de Vink, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Pakistan while addressing the business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI).
He said that the Dutch CBI programme also supports exchange of technical experts from Netherlands to Pakistan in 27 sectors of economy and added that Pakistani businessmen should avail this program, especially to promote exports.
He said Netherlands is the 5th largest trading country in the world, but its bilateral trade with Pakistan of around US$ 900 million is far below the true potential of both countries and efforts should be made to improve two-way trade as there exists huge potential for it.
The Dutch Ambassador identified water, agriculture, logistics and energy as the four main potential areas of cooperation between the two countries.
He resolved to increase the bilateral trade up to at least $1billion in the near future.
He said the visit of the Dutch Minister for Trade and Development Mrs. Lilianne Ploumen to Pakistan in May 2014 along with a business delegation reflected the keen interest of the Netherlands to increase bilateral trade with Pakistan.
She along with all delegation members that accompanied her were inspired by the great business potential of Pakistan.
He said the Netherlands strongly supported grant of GSP Plus to Pakistan and added that Pakistani manufacturers should ensure compliance of EU standards to achieve maximum benefits from this concession.
He assured that Netherlands Embassy would facilitate in bringing businessmen of both countries together as business-to-business relations define the relations between the two countries.
Speaking at the occasion, Shaban Khalid, President, ICCI appreciated the paradigm shift in Netherlands policy for Pakistan from aid to trade as it will multiply the reciprocal trade between the two countries.
He said Netherlands is the 2nd largest exporter of agriculture products in the world and it should cooperate with Pakistan by sharing expertise and transferring technology for improving agricultural productivity.
Netherlands could also help in value chain and value addition of Pakistani fruits & vegetables to improve their exports.
He said 60 percent produce of Pakistan is wasted due to lack of value chain facility and hoped that Dutch cooperation in this area would help a lot.
Shaban Khalid said Netherlands is the 6th largest investor in the world and it should explore Pakistan for investment, especially in energy including wind, biogas, solar, coal and offshore energy solutions, infrastructure development, shipping, ports development, water management, dairy farming and agriculture etc. He assured that ICCI would like to work closely with Netherlands Embassy for promoting bilateral trade and economic relations between the two countries.