ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar on Sunday called for enhanced cooperation between Europe and Asia-Pacific (APAC) particularly in trade, investment and sustainable development.
She was speaking at the EU Indo-Pacific Ministerial Forum in Stockholm at the invitation of the EU High Representative Josep Borrell and Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström.
Taking part in a roundtable discussion titled ‘Building More Sustainable and Inclusive Prosperity Together’, the minister of state underscored Pakistan’s role as a trade, investment and connectivity hub in the heart of Asia that sought to deepen its engagements with its European partners. She appreciated European sustainability and connectivity initiatives like the EU Global Gateway Strategy and Green Deal. She expressed the hope that the new EU GSP Plus facility would continue to focus on its primary aim of promoting sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
She stressed the need for recognising the symbiotic relationship between sustainability and inclusivity in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Hina also called for avoiding distortions, economic de-coupling, new forms of protectionism and selective application of norms that could undermine free trade, win-win economic cooperation and interconnectedness. The state minister emphasised the need for partnerships to deal with emerging global challenges and non-traditional security threats such as climate change, pandemics, water, energy and food security.
She proposed greater collaboration between the EU and Asia-Pacific countries for research and capacity building with focus on sustainability, green economies, agriculture and digital connectivity.
In Stockholm, Hina also held bilateral meetings with Billstrom, Borrell, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of UAE Noura Alkaabi, UK Minister of State Lord Tariq Ahmad, Counsellor of the US Department of State Derek H. Chollet, and Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand Vijavat Isarabhakdi.