ISLAMABAD: Several French companies have expressed interest in forging partnerships in Pakistan and strengthening business relations in varying sectors of the economy.

“In an attempt to deepen bilateral ties, a business delegation of France will visit Pakistan in the first half of next year,” said Thierry Pflimlin, President of the Pakistan-France Business Council, in a meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar.

Pflimlin, who is also Vice President Asia-Pacific Region for Total oil and gas producing company, cited infrastructure development, oil and gas, food processing, mining and railways as prospective areas for cooperation, according to a statement received from Paris on Friday. The finance minister, while welcoming the planned visit to Pakistan, assured them of full support of the government. He offered assistance to French companies in setting up special economic zones in Pakistan to not only cater for the local market demand, but also make exports to countries in the region.

Later, the finance minister met senior executives of French company Veolia, which specialises in solid waste management and environmental services, and Vetigraph, which has expertise in latest IT and software technologies for the textile and fashion industry. These companies were also interested in doing business in Pakistan. Dar also visited the headquarters of Federation of Energy Producers in Paris where the president and senior executives of the body were present.

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

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