Urdu Point - 08 May 2019
Pak-Brazil Free Trade Agreement to open hub for bilateral trade: Claudio Lins
Brazilian Ambassador to Pakistan Claudio Lins Wednesday said Pakistan and Brazil were working on free trade agreement which would turn the region into a hub for theBrazilian traders and investors.
He made these remarks at the inaugural meeting of Pakistan Brazil Parliamentary Friendship Group held here with the convener Senator Sitara Ayaz in the chair.
The Brazilian ambassador said the Parliamentary Friendship Group meeting was the much needed initiative to foster and boost bilateral economic, political and cultural ties between the two friendly countries.
"Brazilian investors are ignorant about Pakistani market and China Pakistan Economic Corridor. Therefore, they tend to move towards India and China whereas after strong economic agreement it will help in increasing trade volume between the the two countries," he added.
"The culture of Brazil is much alike Pakistan’s as there is much fondness for music and both the countries are similar in the sense that we share cultures, who are inspired by widespread ethnicities and cultures," he said.
He said Brazil had a vast experience and strong research in agriculture sector which had eventually made it the world’s largest producer of coffee, soybean, sugarcane and oranges.
In Brazil we had Centre of Excellence in Agriculture Studies whose representatives visited the University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and COMSATS and had signed a memorandum of understanding with the former, Lins said.
"We will welcome a mission of agriculture experts consisting of UAF and COMSATS and others for exchanging experiences, knowledge sharing and training with their Brazilian counterparts and visit to the Centres of Excellence," he said.
The Brazilian ambassador acknowledging the sacrifices of Pakistani armed forces and civilians in curbing the menace of terrorism, said, "We really know the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in war against terrorism but there is a gap at the global level to make the international community realize their efforts and sacrifices made. This void could be filled with joint collaboration of Brazil." He informed the friendship group that around 42 per cent of Brazil’s energy mix consisted of renewable energy solutions. He mentioned that Brazil had attained tremendous achievements and experience in production of ethanol to meet energy needs.
The Brazilian envoy Claudio Lins said building linkages between the higher education institutions teaching agriculture and using the innovative technologies in agriculture Pakistan could get benefit to overcome its lingering energy and agricultural issues.
He also termed the soccer balls produced in Pakistan as the best in the world which are exported to Brazil in huge numbers. The ambassador told the group that the president of the Itaipu Dam had expressed his interest in entertaining a Pakistani delegation of professionals and technicians who could learn from Brazil in its hydro electricity production and could share information on Pakistan’s energy and water needs by experience sharing from South America’s biggest dam.
Director General Americas from the Foreign Office Bilal Haye gave an introductory country profile of Brazil and told that the diplomatic relations between the two countries go back to 1948. Both countries have a good bilateral trade volume but the trade balance was currently highly in favour of Brazil with Brazil’s exports to Pakistan of US$469 million and Pakistan’s exports to Brazil US$67 million. It was agreed that more trade missions could help realign the balance of trade between the two countries.
He informed that Pakistan was engaged with the Brazilian Authorities for signing a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with MERCOSUR leading to a Free Trade Agreement eventually where there was no ongoing economic or investment related projects going between the two countries.
During the briefing, dearth of high level visits and limited political engagements was also discussed. Pakistan had friendship groups in both houses and the Brazilian Parliament was being encouraged through the Pakistani Embassy to have a friendship group. Pakistan could learn a lot on innovative technologies in agriculture sector from Brazil and recently a Brazilian delegation visited Pakistan and met a wide range of stakeholders, it was maintained.
Convener of the group and the members appreciated the presentation made by the ambassador and DG Americas and called for enhanced and more frequent Parliamentary linkages to address the aspects covered in the presentations and to enhance the trade volume in all ways possible. The meeting was attended by Senator Maula Bux Chandio, Senator Keshoo Bai, Senator Sajjad Hussain Turi and Senator Pervaiz Rasheed.