LAHORE – Netherlands is focusing on economic cooperation with Pakistan aimed at achieving an equal partnership.This was stated by Robert Dresen, Head of Economic Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, at a consultative workshop on opportunities for Dutch Companies for doing business in the water supply and sanitation sector of Pakistan.Saaf Consult BV and Cleaner Production Institute (CPI) conducted the workshop which was moderated by Ele Jan Saaf, CEO of Saaf Consult, and Azhar Uddin Khan, CEO of CPI. Robert Dresen shared that the Netherlands is amongst the top 20 economies of the world in terms of GDP, which makes it four times the size of Pakistan with a population roughly the size of Karachi. Netherlands has had bilateral ties with Pakistan for over 50 years with current bilateral trade at approximately $800 million annually.Azher Uddin Khan spoke at length on the opportunities in the water and sanitation sector for both countries. He said that for Pakistan, safe, clean water to avoid water related disease burden is essential. This is a country where every child goes through 4 episodes of diarrhea in the first year of life. The Netherlands government helped finance a combined effluent treatment plant at Korangi which reduced the water usage of certain leather tanneries to half.Saaf and Khan went on to a role play where they played out the various concerns of the Pakistani businessmen and Dutch companies ranging from financing modalities, pricing and the perceptions of insecurity and cultural differences.There was consensus among participants that companies from the Netherlands should try to secure their share of the Pakistani market and for this they need to increase their market outreach. The experts of various sectors concerned stressed the need to work on Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs) in Punjab, which is a neglected area in the province. They recommended that the CETP is a potential area for both Dutch and Pakistani businessmen to work in. Some of the industries’ representatives said that the industries would not be able to resolve all the process of CETPs installation independently.