LAHORE: Being an emerging economic power, Pakistan could be most important and beneficial partner of Russia in South Asia, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Abdul Basit said and invited Russian businessmen to explore the huge untapped Pakistani market.
He was talking to a two-member Russian delegation including Igor Kolesov and Elena M Kholod, who had a comprehensive discussion on trade and economic issues.
Basit pointed out that Russian interest in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a clear evidence that CPEC was not only a game changer, but it would also change the world order.
Both the countries should take sector-specific measures to enhance bilateral trade that did not reflect the existing potential, he said and expressed the hope that businessmen of the two sides would enter into joint ventures and take bilateral trade to new highs. Pakistan has a lot to offer to the Russian business community while Pakistani businessmen could learn a lot from Russians for technological upgrading of their industrial units.
Russia helped Pakistan establish a mega steel mill in Karachi, which has played a crucial role in development of the country. The mill has been the biggest source of steel products catering to demand and value addition for related products. However, Basit said, since then no major initiative had been taken by Moscow.
He pointed out that Pakistan’s share in total foreign trade of Russia was very insignificant while trade balance was also in favour of Russia. Though bilateral trade is increasing gradually, it is not satisfactory. He said the Russian Federation was a market of great importance for Pakistan with massive population together with neighbouring countries.
Pakistan can export textile, garments, rice, leather, sports goods, surgical equipment and pharmaceutical goods to the Russian market while Moscow can enhance exports of power equipment, steel, urea and chemicals.
Basit cited Pakistan’s oil and gas sector as an area that offered great opportunities to Russia, which had the requisite experience and technology. He suggested that Russia could evaluate possibilities of collaboration with Pakistan in the mining of marble and granite as well.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2017.