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PPI Original Text (PPI-OT) – Baroness Ashton’s Visit to Pakistan

Islamabad, May 31, 2012 (PPI-OT): Baroness Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission will be visiting Islamabad to launch the Pakistan-EU Strategic Dialogue from 4-6 June 2012. The Pakistan side will be led by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

The Strategic Dialogue is being launched in pursuance of the decision taken at the First Pakistan-EU Summit held in 2009. The Dialogue would provide for modalities to implement the Pakistan-EU Five-Year Engagement Plan concluded in January 2012.

Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the EU and enjoys excellent relations with all EU member countries. The EU is Pakistan’s single largest trading partner accounting for 25% of our total exports and 11% of total imports. Bilateral Trade in 2011 stands at US$ 10.56 billion, with exports at US$ 6.18 billion and imports at US$ 4.38 billion. Investment from the EU during 2010-11 was to the tune of over US$ 230 million.

Baroness Ashton’s visit will provide an opportunity to reiterate Pakistan’s interest for inclusion in the GSP+ and early implementation of the package of Autonomous Trade Preferences (ATPs) for Pakistan.

The European Union has been an important development partner of Pakistan and it has provided generous humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of 2010 and 2011floods.

The EU and Pakistan signed last year a Multi-year Indicative Programme (MIP) for 2011-2013. Under the MIP, the EU would provide 225 million Euros for rural development, education, health and governance.

The visit of Lady Ashton will further enhance the existing relations between the EU and Pakistan. The Strategic Dialogue will provide the two Foreign Ministers an opportunity to identify ways and means to further raise the level of bilateral cooperation and discuss regional and international issues of mutual interest.

During her stay in Islamabad, Baroness Ashton would call on the Prime Minister. Her programme also includes a visit to Lahore and a call on the Governor Punjab.

For more information, contact:
Syed Haider Ali Jafri
Personal Secretary
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Government of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 921 0335 and 9056604

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