LAHORE-A seven-member Austrian business delegation Thursday had B2B meetings with their Pakistani counterparts at LCCI. Head of the delegation and Ambassador of Austria Andrea Wicke discussed ongoing bilateral trade with LCCI President Kashif Anwar, Senior Vice President Chaudhry Zafar Mahmood and Executive Committee members.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar invited the delegates’ attention towards available opportunities. The ambassador said that economic ties are crucial because they improve interpersonal interactions, which in turn promote collaboration in all spheres of life. Austrian Ambassador Andrea Wicke made these remarks while addressing a gathering at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry along with Johannes Brunner, the Austrian Embassy’s Commercial Counselor and Trade Commissioner. She was also leading a delegation of businessmen from Austria who conducted B2B meetings with their Pakistani counterparts at LCCI.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar welcomed the distinguished delegation while Senior Vice President Chaudhry Zafar Mahmood and Head of Trade Office Muhammad Usman also spoke during the session. Andrea Wicke added that collaborative efforts can take two-way trade to new heights and B2B meetings between the private sectors of the two nations can be extremely beneficial in this regard.

The ambassador stated that connections between universities would encourage interactions. She expressed her deep commitment to the Pak-Austria University of Applied Sciences in Haripur and said the model of educational collaboration should be promoted by both nations and with other European countries. The ambassador continued by saying that one of the reason to visit Lahore includes the tremendous history this city has and the delegates should have a glimpse of the rich culture of this part of the world.

According to Johannes Brunner, the Austrian Embassy’s commercial counsellor, President LCCI has set a very attainable goal of $1 billion for bilateral trade. He hoped that by working together, the mutual trade might be increased to $10 billion. He declared that Austria is willing to share knowledge with Pakistan in a number of economic fields. He said that a number of Austrian businesses are already active in Pakistan, working in a number of industries, including waste water treatment and infrastructure development, adding both nations might improve their cooperation in information technology and tourism. LCCI President Kashif Anwar said that the importance of such interaction is hard to be measured. It provides a unique opportunity to directly interact with each other and explore new avenues for enhancing trade and investment cooperation. He said that Austria is one of the most diversified economies in the EU with a strong industrial capacity and also a well-developed services sector. LCCI President said that Pakistan and Austria have been enjoying excellent and cordial diplomatic relations since 1956 but these relations are yet not reflected in the trade volume. According to the State Bank of Pakistan statistics, the total trade volume between Pakistan and Austria, which was around 154 million dollars in 2020-21 increased to 175 million dollars in 2021-22. He said that Pakistan’s exports to Austria were around 20 million dollars during 2020-21 and increased to around 28m dollars in 2021-22. On the other hand, our imports from Austria which were 143m dollars during 2020-21, that increased to 175 million dollars in 2021-22. Kashif Anwar said that the relationship between Pakistan and Austria is multi-dimensional. Various Austrian companies are successfully operating in Pakistan. The business activity of the Austrian companies, such as Andritz Hydro, ILF, Red Bull or TÜV Austria, is seen positively and contributes to Austria’s positive image in Pakistan. The Pak-Austria University of Applied Sciences in Haripur is a successful example of scientific cooperation between Pakistan and Austria.