Moving from Strength to Strength
The relationship between the countries is on an upward trend, which it is expected to further strengthen and deepen in the years to come.
Dr Mohammad Faisal
Pakistan and Germany enjoy extremely cordial relations since the 1950s. The year 2021 marked the 70 years of establishment of bilateral relations with Germany with a number of commemorative activities, including issuance of a special stamp and coin, undertaken by both sides. The relationship has been moving from strength to strength.
Pakistan and Germany remain actively engaged in the areas of politics, economy, defence and education and culture, that further strengthen the bilateral relationship. Pakistan-Germany bilateral relations are governed by the strategic dialogue – signed and launched by the Foreign Ministers of the two countries in September 2012 in Berlin. It has regularly been held since then. The next round is expected to be held in Islamabad soon.
The bilateral relations between Pakistan and Germany are on an upward trajectory. Lately, there have been frequent high-level exchanges between the two countries. German Federal Chancellor, Mr. Olaf Scholz met Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, on the side-lines of 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-27) in Sharm El-Sheikh on 8 November, 2022.
Foreign Minister,Mr. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari attended the 59th Munich Security Conference (MSC) in Munich, Germany, from 17-19 February 2023. He was accompanied by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs,Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar. During the three days event, the Foreign Minister attended various important meetings related to climate change, global security issues and Afghanistan. This was his second visit to Germany in a short span of six months.
Germany and Pakistan have been engaged in development cooperation since 1961, when the Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) was founded. Since then, German Government has pledged some 3.8 billion euros in project support. This development cooperation focuses on the support for renewables and climate protection, business (including vocational training) and good governance (including healthcare).
Pakistan’s main exports to Germany are textiles, leather goods, sports goods, footwear and medical instruments and its main imports from Germany are machinery, chemical and electrical goods, motor vehicles and iron goods. Germany’s development cooperation with Pakistan mainly focuses on governance, energy, and sustainable economic development.
Germany is an important trading partner of Pakistan. Despite a slight fall in the percentage share of total exports, Pakistan has maintained a trade surplus with Germany.Germany, of course, is a huge market and has a lot of potential for Pakistan, which needs to be exploited.
More than 40 German companies are present in Pakistani market. Some of the well-known German companies based in Pakistan include BASF (Chemicals), BMW (Automobile), Daimler AG (Automotive), DHL (Courier), Lufthansa Cargo (Cargo airline) (Not currently flying to Pakistan), Merck Group (Pharmaceutical), Metro Cash and Carry (Wholesale), and Siemens (Conglomerate). In addition, the German Development Organization GIZ has extended its cooperation to complete several development projects in various sectors of Pakistan.
Pakistani companies have been regularly participating in trade fairs/exhibitions in Germany, which are some of the biggest and oldest in the world. Only last week, Pakistan participated at the largest international Tourism Exhibition, ITB Berlin 2023. Pakistan pavilion housed 13 private exhibitors or tour operators, with provincial tourism departments showcasing their offers and services to attract global visitors to Pakistan.
Pakistan and Germany remain engaged in the areas of education, health and climate change. Pakistan experienced extraordinary rainfalls during monsoon 2022, because of climatic changes at the global level. This climate-induced natural disaster caused Pakistan to suffer US$ 30.1 billion loss and damage. Germany has been extending all possible help to Pakistan to overcome the challenges being faced by the flood affectees. Germany has pledged euros 84 million in International Conference on Climate Resilient Pakistan on 9 January 2023, bringing their total flood relief assistance to more than euros 184 million.
There are around 7000 Pakistani students currently studying in various German universities, including postgraduate studies. There has been a progressive increase in the number of Pakistani students during the past ten year i.e. from 2300 students in 2013 to around 7000 students in 2022/2023.
The relationship is on an upward trend and it is expected to further strengthen and deepen in the years to come. The use of economic diplomacy from both sides towards betterment of trade and economic relations between the two countries has been used as a very effective tool and is fast producing substantive results.
Germany is Europe’s most industrialized and populous country. It has an area of 357,027 sq km and an estimated population of 84.1 million in 2022. It is bordered by Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Poland.Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world after the United States, China and Japan and the largest economy in Europe. It is the third largest export nation globally: with 70% of the services sector contributing as the largest part of the country’s GDP.
The writer is a seasoned diplomat & Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany.