LAHORE: Kyrgyzstan offers a market of over 180 million people for Pakistani products and local businessmen should come forward and avail the opportunity, said Kyrgyz Ambassador to Pakistan Erik Beishembiev.
In a meeting with the business community at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Saturday, the ambassador said that his country greatly valued relations with Pakistan and hence it sought further diversification and strengthening of bilateral terms.
“Both countries are rich in mineral resources and have highly skilled human resource, which gives us excellent opportunities for developing industry and agriculture besides attracting foreign investment for joint production and supply of goods,” he said.
Beishembiev said that Kyrgyzstan was interested in the development of short transportation links through its territory between Central Asia, China and Pakistan with access to the Gwadar and Karachi ports.
He added that railway links as well as roads, which are being constructed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), could be utilised for the corridor.
The envoy highlighted that at present, short highways connected China with Kyrgyzstan through two Kyrgyz border mountain passes ie Torugart in the north and Erkeshtam in the south.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan enjoyed friendly and cordial relations.
“The meagre bilateral trade volume shows that our business and economic relations have not been adequately developed,” he said. “Very few items are being traded between the two countries and they mainly comprise of pharmaceutical products.”
The two countries have been talking about exploiting untapped trade potential in Central Asian Republics but so far, the efforts have not borne fruits, the LCCI president added.
He said that lack of knowledge regarding each other’s markets and absence of regular bank-to-bank channels between the two countries hindered progress.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2020.
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