Irfan Athar Qazi / M J Hayat
I personally feel that Pakistan is a safe and secure country and deserves to be one of the most important countries in this region, Pakistan has substantially contributed against terrorism, Nicolae Goia, Romania Ambassador to Pakistan speaks to Daily The Business in Lahore.
One billion dollar bilateral trade between both countries may be ambitious target but my personal objective is to achieve the trade to about half a billion dollar in the first phase which I personally believe that we will achieve the target within a couple of years as I have got very positive response from the Pakistani traders and industrialists. Similarly, the Romanian businessmen are also keen to invest and work with their Pakistani counterparts.
Nicolae Goia born in April 1952, Romania. He has a vast experience of diplomatic missions abroad. He has served as the Third Secretary in The Democratic Peoples of Yemen, First Secretary, Islamic Republic of Iran, Counsellor, Japan, Ambassador United Arab Emirates and now serving in Pakistan as Ambassador for the last three years.
DTB: Pakistan and Romania enjoy good relationship. How can we further strengthen the ties?
Nicolae Goia: Yes, Pakistan and Romania enjoy extremely good relationship. We are happy that the relationship are getting stronger and stronger in term of bilateral trade, political education, cultural and even sports with the each passing year. I must say that we established the bilateral ties back in 1964 and there have been years and years full of achievements in terms of especially economic and political relations. We joined hands in building oil refineries, constructing cement and tractor manufacturing factories. We have also been very effectively been exchanging commodities in order to increase volume of trade.Both the countries are on the same page in analyzing and assessing the international situation and have
To the businessmen, I would say, try to identify their Romanian counterparts and be as active as you can in order to establish direct ties. To the nation, I would say, be proud to be Pakistani as this is a brilliant nation. This is a nation which has very bright future. So be proud. I am proud to be here myself.
excellent cooporation in the international arena. However, right now I am not satisfied with the volume of tradebetween the two countries so we need to do much more in order to increase business-to-business (B2B) contact and people-to-people contact. I am a half Pakistani and consider Pakistan my home as I have also brought my family here and they enjoy being in Pakistan, especially they like Lahore very much.
DTB: Pakistan-Romania bilateral trade stands at $100 million. How can both the countries increase the volume to $1billion at least?
Nicolae Goia: One billion dollar bilateral trade between both countries may be ambitious target but my personal objective is to achieve the trade to about half a billion dollar in the first phase which I personally believe that we will achieve the target within a couple of years as I have got very positive response from the Pakistani traders and industrialists. Similarly, the Romanian businessmen are also keen to invest and work with their Pakistani counterparts. I personally feel that Pakistan is a safe and secure country and it deserves to be one of the most important countries in this region. I am Ambassador of Romania and envoy of European Union as well and so people from both Europe and Romania and I am speaking on behalf of EU and also of Romania that they should come here because Pakistan is a very good and secure market. The Pakistanis are very responsible businessmen and there are a lot of opportunities here.
DTB: People from outer world are scared of the terrorist attacks in Pakistan which is now a story of the past. How do you thing about that and how can this impression can be dismantled?
Nicolae Goia: Actually, Pakistan has substantially contributed against terrorism and more than that it is extremely deep rooted engaged in fighting against terrorism and is quite successful in its endeavours. Whenever I attend conferences, symposiums, sound debates, give interviews to the newspapers and TVs, I have always been saying that Pakistan is extremely safe and normal country so I invite the business community and tourist community of Romania and the world here as Pakistan is good place for business and tourism.
DTB: Industrial development in Romania has been so fast. How can Romania help Pakistan in this respect?
Nicolae Goia: Yes, it is true Romania is one of the fastest growing economies in the EU but we still have a long way to go. However, we can help Pakistan inits economic growth and development by setting up agencies, exchange of opinion, sharing our experiences in developing the economy and at the same time we also want to learn from the Pakistani businessmen’s expertise.
DTB: How long have you been in Pakistan and what is your opinion about Pakistani people and the society?
Nicolae Goia: I have been here for the last three years. I realised how deep Pakistani culture is? Pakistan has an extremely diverse society from the culture point of view. The people are very welcoming and hospitable. It has very deep culture. However, there is a dire need of improvement as 30 percent of the children do not have access to education and in my opinion it should be a major priority to work for the future of the country in order to achieve 100 percent literacy rate in the years to come.
DTB: Have you been to Northern Areas of Pakistan? They are among the most beautiful areas on earth. Romania bikers visited the area and they were impressed very much.
Nicolae Goia: Yes, I am planning to do that because I have heard about that from my EU ambassador colleagues as they keep on saying that Swat and Gilgit-Baltistan are more beautiful than Switzerland so I am going to visit there as soon as possible with my colleagues in the embassy. I am longing and dreaming for it.
DTB: Pak-Romanian Business Council has been set up. What special milestone this organisation has achieved?
Nicolae Goia: Yes, we have the council. I can give you the example of the council in Karachi and it is encouraging businessmen to strike joint ventures between the businessmen of both countries. We have been receiving very good results there but in Lahore we are not receiving that much response. Punjab is very vibrant province of Pakistan in terms of economy and it would be a king of target of Asia in terms of economy as to all Pakistanis I always say that Pakistan can within one decade, may be 15 years, can become the new Japan of Asia as there are some positive encouraging signs because Prime Minister Imran Khan may ensure and achieve good results by curbing corruption. I strongly believe that in no time, may be in 15, may be less Pakistan would be the most developed country in Asia. I am sure.
DTB: People-to-people contacts are most important in establishing strong ties between the countries. Shouldn’t be there frequent exchange of delegations especially of industrialists, traders, journalists and others?
Nicolae Goia: This is very important question you have asked because people-to- people contact is most important component in improving mutual ties between the countries. We are working on it as we put this very high on agendas to bring the people of both countries closer to each other for the mutual benefits. We are encouraging Pakistani delegations to visit Romania and vice versa because this is most important for enhancing mutual ties.
DTB: How do you see Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government?
Nicolae Goia: There are very encouraging signs that he is very determined to implement good governance, fight very seriously against corruption, I trust this government will do a very good job.
DTB: Any message you want to give to the businessmen, traders, industrials and people especially.
Nicolae Goia: To the businessmen, I would say, try to identify their Romanian counterpart and be as active as you can in order to establish direct ties. To the nation, I would say, be proud to be Pakistani as this is a brilliant nation. This is nation which has very bright future. So be proud. I am proud to be here myself.