Pakistan-Russia Business Council can play positive role in enhancing bilateral trade

KARACHI: The Russian Federation is eager to help Pakistan in projects related to transport, and awaits a response from the Government of Pakistan with regard to a proposal submitted in this respect. This was stated by Yuri Kozlov, Head of the Russian Federation’s Trade Mission in Islamabad, during a visit to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry Head Office in Karachi.

Kozlov was received at Federation House by Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, President FPCCI, Dawood Usman Jhakura, Vice President FPCCI and Abdul Rauf Tabbani, Chairman of the Pakistan-Russia Business Council. Other members of the Business Council were also present during the meeting.

The President thanked Kozlov for visiting FPCCI and praised Russia’s important role in world politics and economics, stressing that he hoped Russia would regain the status of a leading global power to balance the vacuum created by the collapse of the Soviet Union. He informed Kozlov that he planned to visit Russia with a high-ranking delegation of leading businessmen in September 2011; but he also welcomed the possibility of a Russian trade delegation visiting Pakistan before or after that. He said that FPCCI would facilitate any visiting delegation from Russia in every manner possible.

The President spoke about the immense opportunities for FDI available in Pakistan’s economy in mining, transport and power generation. He expressed the hope that Kozlov could communicate the existence of opportunities in these areas to Russian investors. Tabbani pointed out that Russia could help revive the steel and railways sectors of Pakistan, which were currently facing stagnation. Mir Nasir Abbas, DG FPCCI suggested pharmaceuticals, precious and semiprecious gemstones, seafood, edible fruits and nuts, cereal (rice), cotton and leather as products which held immense export potential for the Russian market.

Kozlov noted that existing trade ties between Pakistan and Russia did not match the excellent record of our bilateral ties, though there had been some improvement in this regard over the past six months.

He mentioned that both countries had constituted the Russia-Pakistan Intergovernmental Commission in 2010, which was working hard to further streamline economic cooperation between the two countries. He also stated that Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Russia were working on linking their road networks, and the completion of this project would facilitate trade and industry considerably.

It was acknowledged that the Russian Business Council for Cooperation, which was constituted by President Asif Ali Zardari during his visit to Russia in 2010, and the Pakistan Russia Business Council, could both play a useful role in furthering bilateral trade between the two countries. Areas for further action identified during the meeting were: the opening of direct banking channels to facilitate traders, the possibility of direct flights between Pakistan and Russia, and conducting direct trade, rather than through third parties such as Dubai and Europe.

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