Boost in economic cooperation expected after Nawaz visit, says Belarus Minister

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KARACHI, Mar 10 (APP): Republic of Belarus is giving great weightage to Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Belarus in August 2017, wherein many agreements on increasing trade and investment including joint ventures are expected to be signed, Belarus Minister for Industries Vitaly Vovk said.
Belarus Minister was speaking at Pakistan-Belarus Business Forum and 3rd session of Pakistan-Belarus Joint Business Council (PBJBC) on the second day Belarus high level delegation’s visit here.
Pakistan’s Commerce Minister Engr Khurram Dastagir Khan had co-chaired the inaugural session of the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC).
Belarus has total population below 10 million but had status of a country of advanced technology; mainly agriculture machinery with a big brand of Belarus tractors being exported throughout the world.
Today’s series of interactive sessions including business-to-business meetings and technical sessions were hosted by Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
Acting President FPCCI Aamir Ata Bajwa and Secretary TDAP Inamullah Khan represented their organisations.
A good number of Pakistani leading businessmen representing different industries attended the meeting.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Pakistan Andrey Ermolovich, Director General of Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Valery Labum were also prominent on Belarus side.
The Belarus delegation included representatives of twenty companies mainly manufacturers of agriculture machinery, food and petro-chemicals, and a group of Belarus government officials.
Belarus Minister for Industries appreciated PBJB Council’s role and hoped it would play more proactive role in promoting trade and investment between Pakistan and Belarus through increased interaction in the two private sectors along with mobilizing both the governments for more engagement with each other.
He said there were high prospects for joint ventures in agriculture, agro-based industries, pharmaceutical and light engineering, machinery manufacturing, oil and gas sectors.
He said Sindh especially Karachi had a great potential for trade and industry; which had direct access the deep sea.
He invited Pakistani businessmen to visit Belarus in line with Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s August trip there.
Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s last visit to Belarus made turnaround in bilateral economic ties and both the governments were seriously pursuing the agenda of expansion in economic cooperation/partnership and boost in bilateral trade.
He said much was to be done for tapping big economic potential existing on both sides.
He said B to B meetings would prove productive in promoting bilateral trade and investment.
In his Welcome speech, Secretary TDAP Inamullah Khan emphasized on the removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers which was prerequisite to trade promotion.
He said objective of the forum was to identify potential opportunities for raising bilateral trade. For this purpose, a technical session was arranged by TDAP wherein Deputy Director of the Belarus National Investment Agency of Investment and Privatization Oleg Dashuk gave a presentation on investment opportunities and doing business in Belarus.
From the Pakistani business side, M/S Siddiqsons, M/S Herbion and M/S Pyramid also made presentations during the session.
Acting President FPCCI Aamir Ata Bajwa said the present government was very much receptive as far as input from business community was concerned.
He was of the view both the countries were not properly utilizing our full resources and all available channels to exploit the potential.
Both sides were confined to trade in few items.
The volume of bilateral trade could be increased by including competitive products from both sides such as fertilizers, automobile, chemicals, and tractors from Belarus, and Pakistan was a leading exporter of agriculture products.
Economic and trade relations between Pakistan and Belarus could also be increased through proper marketing of products.
Both countries should also exchange trade delegation and arrange exhibitions and improved participation in exhibitions of each other.
Belarus could enter joint ventures in automobiles, services and industrial products. Pakistan offered attractive incentives to foreign investors and Belarusian investors should benefit.
Similarly, Belarus had customs union agreement with Russia and Kazakhstan which was a unique opportunity for Pakistani exporters to get free access to these countries by promoting exports to Belarus, he said.
He emphasized Pakistan should be seen as an emerging centre for trade for land locked Central Asia.
It links Europe, South Asia, fast-developing Western China and the Gulf.
Any trade among them has to take place through Pakistan.
On behalf of FPCCI member trade bodies of the country, FPCCI Acting President assured full support and cooperation for joint economic activities.