Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

France extends support for China’s Belt & Road initiative

ISLAMABAD: (DNA) –  The French Ambassador to Pakistan Marc Barety on Friday said his country supported the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at a time when it is facing stiff opposition from many major nations.Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Defence Production retired Lt Gen Abdul Qayyum met the French Ambassador to Pakistan Marc Barety.

Mr Barety stated France supported the Chinese BRI concept and was willing to invest in the following phases of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on condition that transparency is ensured.

While talking to Mr Qayyum, the French Ambassador expressed avid interest in the defence sector but conveyed his regret that French competing companies hadn’t been able to win any of the three tenders floated for submarines, radars, maintenance and mobile bridges.

Those three tenders in the aforementioned sectors were won by Turkey, the US and China respectively.

He highlighted the tenders floated for the maintenance of submarine had been provided by France.

General Qayyum apprised the French ambassador that the procedures followed for the tenders were transparent and always get a fair opportunity to compete.

Moreover, he told Mr Barety that Pakistan always looked forth to French investment in the energy, railways, connectivity, education, energy and health sector.

Also, Mr Barety said French investments in Pakistan would be enhanced in due course of time.

He added around forty companies including Engie, Sanofi, Total were operating successful businesses in Pakistan and France was interested in boosting bilateral trade which currently stood at 1.4 billion euros.

The French Ambassador shared Germany and France were contemplating to hold joint cultural events in Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi and Islamabad.

He welcomed that due to the improved security situation in the country, these events were being held with desired freedom.

Mr Barety told the committee chairman that France was opening French language institutes in Karachi, Faisalabad and Peshawar.