By Ishfaque Sajid
ISLAMABAD: “When I took over my charge here in Islamabad, I tried my level best to increase the trade volume between the two countries on priority basis. For the purpose, I carried out numerous visit to a number of cities across Pakistan to hold fruitful talk with the business community and paved the way for boosting up trade between Pakistan and Portugal”. These views were expressed by Charge De’ Affairs of the embassy of Portugal in Islamabad, Joao Paulo Sabido Costa, in an exclusive interview with The Daily Mail.
Sabido Costa said that his country was making efforts to enhance trade with Pakistan especially in the sector of textile, chemical industry, aeronautical, marble, dairy farming, agriculture and tourism. He said that Portugal had softened the visa policy for students and the business community.
Sabido Costa further said that Pakistan had a fairly vast scope in tourism and Pakistani products had a very strong demand in Europe. He opined that Businessmen from Pakistan must participate in the trade exhibitions in Portugal as Portugal had a softer visa policy for the investors.
Sabido admitted that the trade volume between the two countries was very meager but efforts were being made from both sides to lift it by the end of this year.
To a question Sabido said that many famous companies from Portugal were already doing business with Pakistan in the sectors of textile, chemical, paper and aeronautical. “Pakistan is the biggest market of marble and Portugal wishes to trade in marble and livestock and in addition to this Protugal was also keen to cooperate with Pakistan in the sectors of solar and hydel energy. “As Portugal holds expertise in hydel energy therefore Pakistan could tackle the energy crisis by taking the advantage of Portuguese experience”, asserted Sabido.
To another question, Sabido said that several Pakistani students were proudly expanding knowledge in different Portuguese universities as faculty, after getting graduating from Portugal. “Soon a student-exchange program would be launched between the two countries in which students from school to university level could participate, who can understand the each other‘s culture and atmosphere”, asserted the CdA adding that in Portugal, there were educational institutes of international standard.
He said during his tour to Portuga, Pakistan’s Minister for Port and Shipping Kamran Michael extended invitation to his counterpart and soon the Minister for Sea Affairs of Portugal, Anna Paula Vitorino would visit Pakistan and during her visit several agreements would be inked between the two sides.
To yet another question,the Portuguese Charge De’ Affairs said that Pakistan was a country, full of natural scenery. “If law and order situation gets better here and Pakistan introduces its tourism globally, then an enormous number of tourists would visit Pakistan’, he asserted. He said that there were different views about Pakistan amongst the global community and it was the need of the hour to paint Pakistan’s softer image before the world.
He said that Sufism of Pakistan was incredible and that there were many values, which are common in Pakistani and Portuguese culture and music and sincere efforts in process to improve the cooperation between two countries in this direction as well.
To a question, he paid rich tributes to Pakistanis for being a very hospitable nation and for being so rich in cultural heritage. He also expressed great admiration for Pakistani food.
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