Murad, Belgian team agree to expand cooperation in IT, food processing

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Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and an eight-member Belgian parliamentary delegation led by Allessia Claes, N-VA, Senator met here at CM House and agreed to further expand and deepen cooperation in information technology, agriculture, food processing, renewable energy, and construction.

The delegation members include Mr. Karl Vanlouwe, Mr. Philippe Courard, Mr. Georges Dallemagne, Les Engages, Ms. Ozlem Ozen, and Mr. Ruben Vanhaverbeke. Provincial Minister Sharjeel Memon, Mukesh Chawla, Qasim Naveed, and Chief Secretary Sohail Rajput also attended the meeting.

Shah said that Belgium was a traditional friend of Pakistan and a major trading and investment partner.“Our cooperation is based on shared values of democracy, pluralism, mutual respect, and trust as well as common interests,” he said and added Pakistan’s Prime Minister had a constructive meeting with the Belgian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York in September 2022. The CM said that parliamentary interactions were important for enhancing bilateral ties. “They not only promote people-to-people contacts but can also play a crucial role in advancing bilateral ties in areas like trade and commerce, as well as investments,” he said. He added that trade and economic ties comprised an important component of our bilateral relations.

Murad Shah said that Belgium was the 10’h largest trading partner of Pakistan. He added that the bilateral trade has crossed US$ 1.2 billion in 2021 but we need to further expand and deepen our cooperation in information technology, agriculture, food processing, renewable energy, and construction.

Shah invited Belgian investment in Special Economic Zones. “Pakistan can provide professionals like engineers, technicians, computer scientists, and other skilled manpower in areas where there is a shortage in Belgium,” he said and added there was huge scope for cooperation in the higher education and research sector.

The CM said that Pakistani students were opting for Belgian universities for higher studies, and we need to put more focus on this important aspect. The Chief Minister said that Pakistan was struck by the most devastating floods which affected more than 33 million people. “We are glad that the international community rose to the occasion and helped Pakistan in the initial phase of providing relief to the flood victims.