Islamabad—H.E. Mr.ToreNedrebo, Ambassador of Norway said that his country was more interested in investment than trade in Pakistan as it was an important market of South Asian region. He said Norway was the 2ndlargest investor in telecommunication field in Pakistan after China and more Norwegian companies were taking interest in its market. However, current business climate and security situation in Pakistan were not encouraging for them. He said Pakistan will have to make itself a predictable, secure and profitable destination to attract more Norwegian investment. He was addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. His spouse Madame Anne Dessingthon was also present at the occasion.
Norwegian Ambassador said that Telenor was the second largest cellular service provider in Pakistan with an investment of $3.5 billion and creation of 5000 direct jobs. He said Norway was cooperating with Pakistan in two LNG terminals at Karachi and one Norwegian company was involved in a hydropower project in Swat, KP. He said balance of trade was in favor of Pakistan as during 2015, Pakistan’s exports to Norway were $78 million with imports from Norway $ 11 million. He said Pakistan Embassy in Norway has to play a proactive role for convincing Norwegian investors to explore Pakistan. However, he said if any Norwegian company showed interest in Pakistan, his Embassy would fully cooperate. He said CPEC would be beneficial for Pakistan and added that better growth of Pakistan’s economy would make it more interesting to Norwegian investors.
In his welcome address, Khalid Iqbal Malik, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Pakistan and Norway have maintained good political relations since long that should be translated into growing trade and economic relations. He said the bilateral trade between both countries has not touched $100 million mark as yet despite the fact that both have good potential to enhance cooperation in many areas.
He said Norway was endowed with rich natural resources including petroleum, hydropower, forests and minerals and it should cooperate with Pakistan in hydropower generation, exploration of oil and gas and minerals. He said agriculture was another area where both countries could enhance cooperation. He said Pakistan could exportfood products including seafood, textiles, leather and many other products to Norway.
He said 10 Norwegian companies including Telenor were doing successful business in Pakistanwhich showed that Pakistan was a promising country for foreign investors.He said CPEC offered plenty of new business and investment opportunities to foreign investors and time was ripe for Norwegian investors to explore Pakistan for joint ventures and investment. Khalid Malik SVP, Tahir Ayub VP ICCI, Tariq Sadiq, MianAkramFarid, Zafar Bakhtawari, ZahidMaqbool, Khalid Chaudhry, Naeem Siddiqui and others also spoke at the occasion.