Ambassador of Tunisia Borhene El Kamel has invited Pakistani businessmen to join hands with their Tunisian counterparts and explore trade and investment opportunities in his country. He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. LCCI President Kashif Anwar, Senior Vice President Chaudhry Zafar Mahmood, Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt and Honorary Consul of Tunisia Mohammad Hameed also spoke on the occasion. The Ambassador said that Tunisia is a gateway for EU countries and African market and Lahore Chamber should plan a business delegation for Tunisia to identify business opportunities in Tunisian and African market. He said that the direct interaction between the private sectors of Pakistan and Tunisia is the key to explore all potential areas of mutual cooperation and visit of LCCI delegation to Tunisia will be a right step in that direction. He assured that his embassy will facilitate Pakistani businessmen in B2B meetings to make their visit successful. He said that Tunisia has signed Preferential Trade Agreements with many countries of the region and close cooperation of Pakistan with it will help it get easy access to Africa, EU, Middle East countries for exports. He said that Pakistan can also re-export its products to the other countries from Tunisia. “We are looking forward to develop business relations with Pakistan as both countries are enjoying good political relations”, he said and added that the good relations between the two countries should also be reflected in mutual trade. The Ambassador said that both countries have potential to set up joint ventures in various sectors. He said that Tunisia largely exports fertilizers and used cloths and imports rice, cotton and textile products to and from Pakistan. He said that 80 per cent exports of Tunisia are to the EU market while 20 per cent are to North America, Africa, Asian countries, China and Japan. He said that though the population of Tunisia is small but it is a lucrative market. He said that we are working practically to make visa issuance easy for the businessmen. LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that Pakistan and Tunisia are bound by strong ties of friendship and Islamic brotherhood, manifested in common perceptions and cooperation on various international and regional issues of mutual concern. He said that these ties are hardly reflected in bilateral trade that is still below even 20 million dollars. According to State Bank of Pakistan data, our exports to Tunisia were around 10.2 million dollars in 2020-21 which inched up to 17.2 million dollars in 2021-22. In contrast to that the imports from Tunisia came down from 3.1 million dollars to 2.1 million dollars during that period.The LCCI President said that we need to make joint efforts to make use of each other’s strengths. The mutual trade has to be improved by way of exploring potential areas. Our respective embassies and major chambers of commerce have to play some role in bringing some positive turnaround in trade volume. He said that Tunisia is one of the largest producers of olive oil and Pakistan will certainly like to benefit from the expertise of Tunisia for olive farming in Pakistan through transfer of technology and Joint Ventures. He appreciated the efforts of the Ambassador for helping Pakistan to become the member of International Olive Union. Kashif Anwar said that for some years, the olive farming is already being done by some private companies in Pakistan while few have set up plants for extracting olive oil. This is an excellent example of cooperation and I am sure the joint ventures in the field of olive oil production will go a long way in import substitution at one hand and after some years, Pakistan can become the exporter of olive oil.The LCCI President said that there is immense potential of economic cooperation in various areas including; Value added textiles, Leather products, Surgical instruments, Sports goods, Pharmaceutical, Auto parts and I.T. sector etc. We need to collaborate with each other to work on these lines. Furthermore, both countries can cooperate in the fields of tourism, education and defence etc. He said that there are bright prospects for a Preferential Trade Agreement between Pakistan & Tunisia as it will certainly help in expanding the volume of bilateral trade. Right now there are heavy duties applied by Tunisian Government on imported items, especially value added textiles. Once that PTA is signed it will open up new avenues for both countries for expanding bilateral trade. LCCI President said that Senior Vice President Chaudhry Zafar Mahmood will lead the delegation to Tunisia. Senior Vice President Chaudhry Zafar Mahmood said that he has visited Tunisia four times and he is also General Secretary of Tunisia Pakistan Business Association. He said that the businessmen can visit Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria on a single visa. It is corner of Europe and 30 minutes visage from Malta. He hoped that the volume of two-way trade will be strengthen in the coming days. LCCI Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt called for exchanging trade delegations and organizing trade exhibitions for knowing more about the dynamics of each other’s markets and facilitating business matchmaking.