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Sweden willing to share green technology with Pakistan: envoy

Lauding the state of trade relations between Sweden and Pakistan, the Swedish Ambassador to Pakistan Lars-Hjalmar Wide, said that in 2011, Swedish exports to Pakistan recorded a volume of 211 million dollars while imports from Pakistan were around 105 million dollars. Exports from Sweden, he said, comprised mostly electronic goods and heavy machinery while exports to Sweden from Pakistan comprised rice, textiles, and sports goods.

He was speaking a local hotel Thursday morning on the prospect of cooperating with Pakistan in the sphere of introducing sustainable development through the introduction of Green Technology.

He said Sweden would like to cooperate with Pakistan in the field of clean energy and sustainable development. He further said that Sweden would be cooperating with Pakistan in building a paper mill in the Punjab that would produce bio-energy as a bye-product. Over 60 percent of Sweden’s energy needs were met from renewable energy resources, Wide said.

“The large volume of Pakistan’s exports to Sweden is because of Pakistan having passed the requirements of environmental standards set by Sweden and the European Union (EU). These requirements are to the effect that there has been no child labour involved in the manufacture of the product and that the process of manufacture has been environment-friendly”, Lars-Hjalmar Wide said.

He said that the EC had decided on preferential treatment for Pakistani textiles as part of the relief measures for the countrywide floods of 2010.

Next is the case of the GSP for Pakistan which will depend on Pakistan’s human rights and labour rights record.

“Also, we must have people-to-people contacts to further cement our mutual relationship”, the envoy said.

Charlotte Kalin, CEO, Chamber Trade Sweden, said that her organization was interested in enabling smooth international trade and investment and for building a sturdy, vibrant private sector, especially in the developing world. Besides, she said that Sweden was keen on helping developing countries, including Pakistan switch over to environment-friendly green technology, and to bank more on renewable resources. She said that almost all industries in Sweden were based on natural, renewable resources.

“We need to look not only at the climate change but the eco-system at large. If Indonesia keeps chopping forests indiscriminately, Pakistan is sure to be affected”, Kalin said.

In 2030, she said, the world population would number around 9 billion and there would be a large middle class. “How are we going to cater to the needs of the middle classes with dwindling resources? Obviously, we have to start planning right away and we have to opt for renewable resources and sustainable development to ensure our future generations a viable quality of life. Hence the crying need for environmentally sound technologies”, Kalin said.

Jonas Rottorp from the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) presented case studies of key Swedish Greentech expertise areas and explored the possibility of replicating these models on Pakistan, and how these models had benefited other countries.

Swedish-Pakistani business man and expert, Yawar Mian, said that of the 50 percent of the energy consumed in Sweden, 10 percent came from renewable resources. He said that green technology in Sweden had helped bring down the discharge of greenhouse gases. Bio-gas, he said, had been injected into the national grid in Sweden. ”Lack of sunlight has in no way stopped Sweden in solar energy”, he said.

All the experts were of the view that the present system of obtaining energy from diesel in Pakistan was not only a highly wasteful and expensive process but was also highly damaging to human health.

Earlier, Bashir Ali Muhammad, Honorary Consul of Sweden, welcomed the visitors and said that Pakistani companies keenly looked forward to Swedish companies’ cooperation in the field of introduction of green technology and renewable energy in Pakistan.

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