Finland plans to enhance trade relations with Pakistan: Ambassador Hannu Ripatti

Finland plans to enhance trade relations with Pakistan: Ambassador Hannu Ripatti

ISLAMABAD, Feb 2 (APP): Finland Ambassador to Pakistan Hannu Ripatti on Thursday said that the Finland government has planned to establish direct trade activities with Pakistan by removing third-party involvement.

Talking to APP, he said the Business Council of Finland will host a business summit in Pakistan which had been dormant during the time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ambassador said that he was planning to visit various chambers of commerce and industries to do more business activities in a better way and through Fin Partnership which can facilitate and help imports and exports on both ways.

“Finland reopened its mission in Pakistan after the closure of 10 years,” Hannu Ripatti said and explained the reason for the closure was primarily finances, after the so-called dot com crisis including the closure of nine other missions.

The ambassador said that the Finland government has also decided to reopen its missions in Manila and Doha, adding Doha mission was made operational before Islamabad because of the football world cup.

The ambassador mentioned that a temporary location at the Serena Business Complex was being used but “soon will have the old premises and start routine operations”, including the issuing of visas, and hope to put the house in order by October 2023. For the moment, the Dutch embassy in Islamabad is taking care of our visas for 90 days, he said.

He mentioned that a large number of Pakistani students were pursuing their studies in Finland, however, students were facing problems as they do not have longer-term visas for which applications have to be forwarded to Abu Dhabi which takes time.

He said we want to bring our visa system in Pakistan in order to not only cater to the needs of the students but the permanent residency seekers as well.

Hannu said that it was a good omen that Pakistani students are keen to get studies, especially in the field of Information Technology and Forestry.

He also pointed out that Pakistan does not have an embassy in Finland and the mission in Sweden takes care of Finland. Things would become much easier if Pakistan opens an embassy in Finland, he desired.

”We have plan to promote cultural linkages as well.” The ambassador said that in the past the Finnish embassy used to host cultural events on regular basis and it is my plan as well to revive that tradition.

The Finland Ambassador said that another area where we can have enhanced cooperation happens to be the hospitality industry.

There is a possibility that Pakistani students seeking studies in the hospitality industry can go to Finland for this purpose.

“We do not have a scholarship program for students but there are some specific foundations that offer scholarships. The students can log on to specific websites and get further information about these foundations and the facilities they offer,” he said.

Finland’s Ambassador said that Tourism is yet another area where both countries can cooperate and during my visit to Lahore, Badshahi mosque, is yet another attraction that immediately attracts visitors.

Similarly, in Taxila too there are quite a few places that attract visitors and of course, the ambassador said: ”We have a number of tourist attractions in Finland.”

Finland as you know is well-known for its archipelagos. People who wish to explore natural beauty must visit Finland.

Finland’s Ambassador termed Pakistan an amazing country in terms of its weather, landscape, biodiversity and rich cultural heritage and its hospitable people and country of hospitable and welcoming people, is a “very safe place” for foreign tourists and travelers to visit.