FAISALABAD: Tajikistan has allowed Pakistan’s investors, who set up textile manufacturing units in free trade zones of the Central Asian state, to hire workforce from their home country.
“There are four free trade zones in Tajikistan with lucrative incentives; Pakistani investors could import textile machinery without any taxes or duties,” said Maruf Jon Abdurahmonov, Consular Economic Section and Head of Visa Section at the Embassy of Tajikistan.
Speaking at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the envoy said the business community of Pakistan and Tajikistan should establish direct contacts in order to encourage trade and tap the potential between the two countries.
He pointed out that Tajikistan, where 93% of land constitutes hilly areas with population equal to that of Faisalabad, was a gateway to other Central Asian states.
Pakistani kinnow, garments, potato and mango juice are very popular in Tajikistan. Similarly, Tajikistan is rich in electricity and will provide electricity to Pakistan through the Central Asia-South Asia (Casa-1,000) power supply programme.
The envoy recalled that during the Soviet era a big textile unit was set up in Tajikistan to cater to the huge demand from the Soviet Union. This unit has now become redundant, but new and small units are being established to meet the need of domestic market.
He asked businessmen and industrialists of Faisalabad, who had expertise in textile manufacturing, to come forward and establish textile units in Tajikistan.
Until 2007, according to the envoy, trade between Pakistan and Tajikistan was restricted below $100 million, which is now growing satisfactorily with room for a quantum jump in future. Highlighting the liberal visa policy of Tajikistan, he announced that multiple business visas would be issued on the recommendation of the FCCI.
In reply to a question, he said Tajikistan had a renowned medical university where many Pakistanis were also enrolled. Still, he added, the Central Asian nation had an acute dearth of pharmaceutical manufacturing units.
“Earlier most of the medicines were imported from India, however, now 60% to 70% of medicines come from Pakistan.”
Tajikistan is holding many international exhibitions namely Interfood, Dushanbe International Health Care Exhibition, Info Com Expo and Tajik Build from October 14 to 16.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 1st, 2015.