PARIS: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has requested France to lift travel advisory to encourage and facilitate French investors interested to explore business possibilities in Pakistan.

Talking to the media on Friday, Mr Dar, who is on an official visit to Paris, said closer economic relations will cement bilateral ties. “We requested them to lift travel advisory and invited the French foreign minister to visit Pakistan which he in principle accepted,” he remarked.

“We have also shared our automobile policy with the French minister,” he said, adding that improved economic situation of Pakistan was generating investors’ interest in the country.

The minister said it was an opportune time for overseas Pakistanis to invest in their home country that is at the cusp of a major economic turnaround. He mentioned the Board of Investment (BoI) in this regard for guidance and facilitation.

Mr Dar further said several French companies have shown keen interest to build new partnerships in Pakistan and to strengthen the already existing business relations in various sectors of economy.

A business delegation from France would be visiting Pakistan in the first half of next year to explore options, Thierry Pflimlin, President Pakistan-France Business Council, informed Mr Dar during a meeting.

Mr Pflimlin, who is also senior vice-president corporate affairs at Total, informed the finance minister that infrastructure development, oil and gas, food processing, mining and railways were identified as prospective areas for future cooperation, according to statement.

The minister offered to help French companies to set up a special economic zone in Pakistan to cater for local markets and export to neighbouring countries in the region.

Later, Mr Dar also held meetings with senior executives of the French company Veolia, which specialises in solid waste management and environment services, and Vetigraph, which has an expertise in latest IT and software technologies for textile and fashion industry.

Earlier, Senator Dar also visited the headquarters of French Federation of Energy Producers in Paris, where he was received by the president and senior executives of the federation.

He briefed them about various ongoing energy projects in Pakistan and scope for future investment in the sector. He invited French energy companies to invest in Pakistan, especially in the solar and wind sectors.

“The meeting with French foreign minister was very useful and comprehensive,” Mr Dar said.

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