Kyrgyz envoy stresses deep economic cooperation

Says Kyrgyzstan has made liberal laws to woo investors, facilitate mega projects

Our Correspondent March 10, 2024
Emergence of issues and challenges, including in the macro economy, has caused a slump in market capitalisation to just over Rs7 trillion. Photo: file


Kyrgyzstan Ambassador Ullanbek Totuiaev has underscored the importance of prioritising trade, economic relations and investment, saying deepening of partnerships in these areas will be mutually beneficial for both nations.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the envoy emphasised the deep historical, religious and cultural ties between Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan with significant potential for bilateral cooperation across various sectors.

He pointed out that former LCCI senior vice president Meher Kashif Younis had been appointed honorary consul general of Kyrgyzstan and the establishment of Kyrgyz Trade House in Lahore was being hailed as a positive step to enhance bilateral relations.

The ambassador outlined Kyrgyzstan’s conducive investment climate with liberal laws attracting foreign investment and facilitating large-scale projects.

He was of the view that joint business forums had been instrumental in fostering collaboration and there were plans for establishing more forums in the upcoming year to promote the participation of major companies. Kyrgyzstan has shown interest in various sectors, including agriculture, pharmaceuticals and textiles from Pakistan but challenges exist such as price competition with other markets.

While considering disruptions in traditional supply chains due to conflicts in neighbouring regions, the two sides discussed efforts to expand pharmaceutical exports to Eurasia.

The embassy of Kyrgyzstan offered to provide comprehensive information on sectors like energy, agriculture and food production to the Lahore Chamber to strengthen trade and economic partnerships.

The ambassador addressed logistical challenges, including border closures between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and highlighted the significance of the quadrilateral transit trade agreement among Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

He commended initiatives such as the National Logistics Company (NLC)-operated route through Karakoram, which reduced transit time significantly.

Moreover, he mentioned the ongoing establishment of railway connections between China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, welcoming Pakistan’s involvement through Afghanistan in the project.

Speaking at the meeting, LCCI President Kashif Anwar cited that Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan were members of important international organisations including the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO).

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan’s exports to Kyrgyzstan stood around $2.6 million in 2021-22, which increased to $9.9 million in 2022-23. Exports were mainly dominated by pharmaceutical products. On the other hand, Pakistan’s imports from Kyrgyzstan were quite negligible.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 10th, 2024.

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