Growing upbeat in Pak-German ties | By Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi


Growing upbeat in Pak-German ties

THE political, economic and cultural relations between Germany and Pakistan are longstanding, robust and reliable.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at a joint press conference in Berlin agreed to strengthen bilateral ties with focus on increasing trade and investments. Germany and Pakistan enjoy intimately cordial relations.

Germany has taken large measures to aid the south Asian countries in its economic and governmental hardship.

Commercial trade between Berlin and Islamabad has also been very essential as Germany is Pakistan’s fourth largest trade partner, also Germany is home to 35,081 Pakistani immigrants overall, two nations have almost always had a friendly bond.

Pakistan and Germany enjoy a deep rooted tradition of cordial and cooperative ties. We greatly value our relations with Germany; and are keen to sustain and strengthen a multifaceted and mutually beneficial cooperation.

Pakistan has a strategic geo-political location at the corridor of world major maritime oil supply lines, and has close proximity to the resource and oil rich Central Asian countries.

Both countries remain deeply engaged on political, economic, and socio-cultural levels to strengthen this partnership.

Pakistan has a strategic geo-political location at the corridor of world major maritime oil supply lines, and has close proximity to the resource and oil rich Central Asian countries.

To give a robust framework to the multi-sectorial relations between the two countries is the crying need of present time.

In Berlin, the assumption is that Germany is likely to become a more important player in Pakistan once London, former colonial power, withdraws from European Union.

Talking to media personnel in the German capital Berlin, Mr Qureshi said Pakistan and Germany had great prospects for cooperation in trade and investment and expressed confidence that the new consulate would expedite matters in this regard.

The foreign minister said a consul general would be, appointed at the Munich mission to supplement the diplomatic efforts of the country’s embassy in Berlin.

The German foreign minister termed the Qureshi’s visit a good opportunity for launching new German initiatives and projects in Pakistan.

Maas expressed satisfaction over the interest of 35 German companies ready to invest in Pakistan and added that the encouraging trend would help tap into immense business potential.

German-Pakistani relations cannot be analyzed in isolation of the larger domestic and international trajectories, economic and political, on both sides of the partnership.

The instable security situation in the region exerts pressure on the Pakistani state, multiplying domestic challenges like macroeconomic and trade instability, societal conflicts and crises in energy supply and infrastructure.

In light of these aspects, this paper explores the magnitude and development of German-Pakistani relations, focusing especially on trade, economic cooperation and strategic interests on both sides.

The analysis of the German-Pakistani trade and investment relations over last decade show only very moderate volumes with room for expansion.

These dynamics are mirrored in private trade business relations with German SME’s active on the Pakistani market (mostly through agents) and a lack of internationalization and economic diversification among Pakistan’s private businesses.

A related structural reason for these predicaments is the lack of a dedicated and clearly-defined policy infrastructure among both states, resembling the long-standing and amicable, though unenthusiastic German-Pakistani relationship.

The recent EU-Waiver assignment, the adoption of the EU’s GSP+ and related trade diversification programs signify the most significant parts of the EU-Pakistani partnership, and mirror an integral part of the discourse in German-Pakistani relations.

Pakistan should attempt to reap the benefits of these developments. Strategic relationships between Germany and Pakistan need to be developed further and strengthened.

Strategic Dialogue serves as a multi-sectoral framework to further deepen and broaden the existing bilateral relations in diverse areas including political, trade, economic and investment relations, higher education, science, cultural exchanges, energy, health, education, governance, renewable energy and environment.

The Dialogue envisages annual bilateral consultation at the level of the Foreign/ State Secretary.

First Round of these consultations between Pakistan Foreign Secretary Jaili Abbas Jilani and the German Secretary of State Dr. Emily Haber was held on 17 December 2012 in Berlin.

The consultations reviewed progress on ongoing projects in various areas besides discussing new initiatives especially in the field of trade, investment and energy.

Pakistan and Germany also enjoy substantial economic and trade relations. Germany is Pakistan’s fourth largest trading partner globally; and the largest within the European Union.

Germany is also an important investment partner. Pakistan’s liberalized trade and investment approach, as manifested in Pakistan’s Strategic Trade Policy Framework (SPTF) 2015-18 and Investment policy 2013, has generated yet greater interest among German companies.

Recent establishment of German Pakistan Trade and Investment (GPTI) and joint German-Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) in Pakistan and GATE Pakistan in Germany are also indicators of the growing desire among German and Pakistani companies for fostering greater bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

A major goal of Pakistan’s foreign policy is to cultivate deep and friendly relations with other members of international community and collaborate with them to cope with the issues of global dimension like environment, population, poverty reduction, energy, human migration, refugees, drugs and last but not least development and cooperation.

Pakistan’s activism reflects that such policies will help to obtain international support and resources.

In terms of public diplomacy several lectures at the leading German universities and think tanks were delivered to present our view point on regional and world issues. Special emphasis was laid on cultural and education exchanges.

“The two countries have also enjoyed strong cultural ties. Pakistan’s national poet Allama Iqbal also studied in Germany.

Philosopher Allama I I Qazi and poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz were married to German women. A large number of Pakistani students study in Germany.

Parliamentarians from the two countries routinely visit each other and we also have a history of military cooperation.”

We also organized an unprecedented number of cultural events, including a grand fashion extravaganza which showcased Pakistan’s textile and fashion prowess in a fascinating manner.

A number of initiatives were also undertaken to project the true picture of Pakistan’s society and promote education exchanges.

—The writer, an independent ‘IR’ researcher-cum-international law analyst based in Pakistan, is member of European Consortium for Political Research Standing Group on IR, Critical Peace & Conflict Studies, also a member of Washington Foreign Law Society and European Society of International Law.

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