Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Uzbekistan in July 2021 to enhance bilateral trade and economic ties.
Besides offering business opportunities, Uzbekistan will also prove to be a gateway for Pakistan to other Central Asian countries. In return, Pakistan can offer its seaport to the landlocked country for trade. Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industries, Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood will also accompany the premier during the trip.
“It has been an eventful year for Pakistan and Uzbekistan’s trade relations,” Dawood said in remarks made to The Express Tribune. The current momentum of trade and economic relations would go a long way in cementing bilateral ties for the benefit of both countries, said Dawood. He stressed that Uzbekistan could become Pakistan’s gateway to Central Asia as it shared borders with Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan.
According to him, the improvement in bilateral trade relations with Tashkent can enhance Pakistan’s exports to the Central Asian region, which has a trade potential of $90 billion.
Earlier in May 2021, the first-ever consignment of export goods from Islamabad reached Tashkent under the TIR Convention. In September 2020, Uzbekistan Deputy Prime Minister for Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov visited Pakistan and met Dawood.
During that visit, the Joint Working Group on Trade and Economic Affairs was established to explore possibilities of a preferential trade agreement (PTA) between the two nations. Both sides vowed to cooperate in fields of trade, communications, banking, maritime and investment. In addition, Pakistan agreed to facilitate the movement of Uzbek trade shipments through local seaports.
As part of a fast-track approach, Dawood visited Tashkent earlier this year with an inter-governmental delegation. The two countries will hold a Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) meeting in Tashkent on July 14, 2021 followed by Pakistan-Uzbekistan Trade, Investment and Connectivity Conference on July 15-16. The conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan and the president of Uzbekistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2021.
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