PR No.190 Islamabad: April 23rd, 2018

Additional Secretary Commerce (Trade Diplomacy), Javed Akbar Bhatti chaired a meeting with delegation of Ambassadors of C-4 countries led by H.E Eloi, LAOUROU, PR/Ambassador Permanent, Mission of Benin in Islamabad today. Mr. Javed Akbar Bhatti welcomed the delegation and said that Pakistan is keenly interested in developing bilateral and trade relations with African countries including C-4 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) and more interaction of such nature will result in strengthening relations and in exploration of new avenues of cooperation. Mr. Javed Akbar Bhatti said that cotton plays an important role in Pakistan's economy as we produce 12 million to 14 million bales annually and in 2016-17 we witnessed a growth of 7.59% in cotton production. "Pakistan is one of the few countries that have the complete value chain from cotton production to fashion garments", he added. He further said that Pakistan recognizes the role of Cotton - 4 (C-4) in raising the profile of cotton in the World Trade Organization, especially the impact of trade distorting policies of the developed countries on the poor farmers of the developing and the least developed countries. "This technical assistance to C-4 countries fits well within Pakistan's strategy in reaching out to African countries furthermore the resources allocated in this regard will deepen our engagements with African region", he added. Mr. Javed Akbar Bhatti informed the delegation that Ministry of Commerce has launched "Look Africa Initiative" to strengthen bilateral trade and investment relations with the African region & current interaction on cotton related activities provides an excellent opportunity to learn from each other and expand cooperation beyond cotton production. "I hope your visit to state of the art research facilities in Faisalabad, Multan and Lahore will provide an excellent opportunity to enhance cooperation in cotton research with Burkina Faso, Mali, Chad and Benin. H.E Mr. Eloi, Laourou said that we need Pakistan assistance for value addition in Cotton. Besides Cotton we are looking for Technical assistance of Pakistan in agriculture, energy and renewable energy. "We are more concerned about the betterment in the Yield and better seeds of cotton and we want to take advantage of the Pakistani expertise", he added. Mr. Javed Akbar Bhatti assured full support and technical assistance to the C-4 countries and said that the cooperation between Pakistan and C-4 countries should exceed in other areas as well. *-*-*-*-*