Pak-Tajik bilateral trade could jump to $300 million

KARACHI: The exports from Pakistan to Tajikistan could jump to $300 million from exiting $20 million after signing trilateral agreement with Tajikistan and Afghanistan, this was the consensus between the two brotherly countries following conclusion of third Business Forum during visit of 108-member strong delegation’s visit to Tajik capital Dushanbe.

On the conclusion of 4-day visit of Tajikistan by joint delegation of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), the leader of the delegation and Chief Executive, TDAP, Tariq Iqbal Puri said that the delegation’s visit proved to be a historic success and a detailed report is being submitted to the government to take immediate and long term measures to fully open the trade corridor between the two brotherly countries which would also serve as a gateway to Central Islamic States.

He said that many targets during the visit have been achieved as five MOUs were signed by the delegation with their Tajik counterparts under which the investors from both the countries would invest in the industry and other sectors.

Puri said that opening up air link between the two countries has also been discussed with the Tajik government and Prime Minister Oqil Oqilov and President, Emamali Rahmon have taken keen interest in starting PIA flights to Dushanbe and agreed to reduce landing charges for the airlines.

Tariq Puri further informed that Tajik government has also invited Pakistan to take part in Central Asia South Asia Regional Energy & Trade (CASA-1000) Project. CASA-1000 project will transmit 1000 MW of surplus electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan with power transit through Afghanistan. The total length of transmission line is 750 KM while the project is planned to be on Public Private Partnership basis with the support of WB, IFC, ADB and IDB. The project cost is estimated around $865 million.

He informed that Tajik ministry of foreign affairs has also agreed to accept TDAP and FPCCI’s recommendations to issue visas to Pakistani businessmen on priority basis. He said that KASB bank has opened Nostro Account in a Tajik bank so that businessmen can open up letter of credit.

He said that one of the delegate and Honorary Consul of Tajikistan in Karachi, Irshad Kassim has also planned to open microfinance bank in Tajikistan as well. He said there are vast opportunities for bilateral cooperation in various fields including agriculture, education, trade, energy, health, sports, tourism, industry, investment, banking, transport, communications, culture, etc. He said that he also invited Tajik businessman to participate in the EXPO Pakistan 2011 that would be held in Karachi from October 20-23, 2011. He also assured that Pakistan was fully committed to support Tajikistan’s membership of the WTO and implementation of the CASA-1000 project.

Puri hoped that some of the measures to enhance trade between the two countries would be materialized during President Asif Zardari’s forthcoming visit to Tajikistan.

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