KARACHI, Aug 18 (APP): Pak-Uzbek bilateral trade with consecutive annual growth of over 50 percent is expected to touch $1 billion in the next two years owing to transit and preferential trade agreements between both countries.
Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan Oybek Arif Usmanov said at a meeting during a visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) on Friday.
He informed that trade between Uzbekistan and Pakistan has constantly grown at a pace of 50 to 55 percent annually during the last three years starting from US$50 million to US$240 million last year whereas.
The Transit Trade Agreement signed in 2021 and Preferential Trade Agreement inked in 2022 facilitated growth while $1 billion trade roadmap has also been signed by the joint ministerial commission on Finance, he stated and added “We, hence, expect trade volume to reach US$400 million by the end of this year and hopefully, it would reach US$1 billion in the next two years.”
Uzbek Envoy said that Liberalization of economy, business-friendly policies and facilitation of banking & finance have resulted in industrial and agricultural growth along with technology and innovation and Uzbekistan has not just become an emergent economy of Central & South Asia but also in the global arena.”
He mentioned that Karachi was always dear to the hearts and minds of the Uzbek people which can be gauged from the fact that after Uzbekistan’s independence, the first flight arrived in Karachi while the first Consulate General of Uzbekistan was also opened in Karachi.
Regular flights between Tashkent and Karachi and the exchange of trade delegations helped to maintain good business relations, building trust and cooperation as well as diplomatic relations, he observed and assured: “Uzbek Government is always ready to adopt any model or mechanism which facilitates traders, industrialists and transport companies of both countries.”
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan were likely to meet at the ministerial level in October 2023 to discuss Trilateral Trade Agreement on transit trade, transport facilitation and tariff ease, he informed.
President KCCI Mohammed Tariq Yousuf, while underscoring the need to explore new avenues between the two countries for trade and investment growth suggested expanding trade and investment ties and setting up a proper banking channel.
Highlighting potential of import of cotton from Uzbekistan and undertaking joint ventures in the value-addition of textile products in Pakistan he said that dyeing, stitching and all other facilities for value-addition were easily available along with the expertise in Karachi while possibilities for enhancing trade and investment cooperation also exist in the agriculture, pharmaceutical, leather and engineering sectors.
Chairman Diplomatic Missions and Embassies Liaison Subcommittee Zia ul Arfeen, Trade Counselor Uzbekistan Embassy Bakhrom Yusupov and KCCI Managing Committee Members were also present on the occasion.