Czech Republic can assist Pakistan in facilitating market access to former Soviet Bloc

Karachi: The Czech Republic can facilitate Pakistan in securing market access to the former Soviet bloc countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as Central Asia, said Mr. Jiri Nastaval, President of the Czech Middle Asian Chamber of Commerce (CSOK), who was heading a high powered delegation of Czech businessmen during a visit to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Head Office in Karachi on Monday.

While introducing members of his delegation, Mr. Jiri Nastaval informed the participants that CSOK has been created by the Ministry of Industry of Czech Republic to foster trade cooperation with the Asian region. He stated that the Czech Republic is looking for mutually beneficial joint ventures with Pakistan in addition to the traditional areas of energy, infrastructure, and technical assistance.

Given CSOK’s status as the official representative of the Czech Republic in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS countries bloc), his chamber could assist Pakistan in expanding trade relations with the CIS countries, on a pattern similar to the help given by the Czech Republic to the EU in dealing with Russia.

Engineer Usman Sheikh, Vice President-FPCCI welcomed the delegates at the Federation House. Also present on the occasion were Iqbal Dawood Pakwalla, Vice President (Elect) FPCCI, Nassiruddin Sheikh, Sardar Shaukat Popalzai, Mir Nasir Abbas, Director General (International Affairs)-FPCCI, and other prominent members of the business community.

Engineer Usman Sheikh mentioned that Pak-Czech trade stood at US$39 million, which indicated that there was tremendous potential for further growth. While expressing satisfaction at the growth in Pakistan’s exports to US$27 million, he said that this was still a very small proportion of the Czech Republic’s total imports of US$125 billion. He pointed out opportunities for collaboration in gas and minerals exploration, coal powered energy projects, telecommunications, IT, banking, food processing and light engineering.

Mir Nasir Abbas (DG) gave a break-up of Pakistan’s exports, stating that Pakistan was primarily an agriculture-based exporter, with massive potential for improvement in value addition in textiles, leather, and rice projects.

Sardar Shaukat Popalzai pointed out opportunities for joint ventures in crystal, energy development, and security and surveillance systems. He mentioned that the Czech Republic could assist Pakistan in helping access the market for fruits in Russia. Nassiruddin Sheikh stressed the need for exchange of trade delegations and requested CSOK to provide details of upcoming trade fairs and exhibitions in Prague that FPCCI could participate in.

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