Pakistan and Uzbekistan: Two countries sign $1 billion trade deal

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Pakistan, Uzbekistan sign $1 billion trade deal

Pakistan and Uzbekistan signed on Friday a $1 billion deal to increase bilateral trade, a statement from Pakistan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

The deal was sealed at the 8th meeting of the Pakistan-Uzbekistan Inter-governmental Commission on Trade-Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation (IGC) held in Tashkent.

Both countries signed the agreement to encourage the exchange of goods and services, the ministry said in its statement.

The meeting mainly focused on bilateral economic cooperation in various sectors, including commerce and trade, banking, industries and production, investment, textile industry, energy, oil and natural resources, transportation and communication, agriculture and tourism and culture development.

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Any investment opportunities would come as a boost to Pakistan which is facing a balance of payment crisis, with foreign reserves falling so low as to cover just three weeks of imports.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was leading the delegation to thrash out the trade agreements, which cover cooperation in fields, including trade, banking, industries, energy and agriculture, the ministry added.

The IGC meeting was co-chaired by Uzbek Minister of Investments, Industry and Trade, Laziz Kudratov and Dar.

The continuous efforts by both countries to encourage closer ties, especially in the fields of trade, transport, banking, and agriculture, were appreciated by the Uzbek side, the statement said.

“The most important outcome of the IGC was the signing of the $1bn trade agreement, which will encourage the exchange of goods and services into a target and will also ease the process of trade.”

According to the statement, Dar appreciated the “deeper interests by the Uzbek side and strengthening the relationship and lauded progress already made” in the field of transport and trade. He also welcomed the Uzbek side to explore areas in automobiles, information technology and natural minerals.

The parties emphasised the huge untapped potential in investment cooperation and bilateral trade. Furthermore, the IGC recognised the importance of closer collaboration in order to bring sustainable development through technology, innovation, and economic partnership.

The IGC aims at increasing economic diversification, sustainable growth, building supply chain resilience and a robust regulatory environment.

The commission expressed satisfaction with the bilateral trade volume between the two countries and desired to enhance it further in the future. Moreover, Uzbekistan showed a commitment to enhancing bilateral connectivity through diverse modes.

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The meeting was attended by Dar, Special Adviser to Prime Minister Tariq Bajwa, Special Assistant to Finance Minister Zulfiqar Younus, Federal Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Dr Kazim Niaz, along with other ministry representatives from Pakistan.

From the Uzbek side, the session was attended by Laziz Kudratov, the Minister of Investments, Industry and Trade, Hamraev Oybek Nematovich, Minister of Sport and Youth Policy, Chairman Chamber of Commerce of Uzbekistan, Ikramov Adham Ilhamovich.

Both parties agreed to hold the ninth meeting of the Pakistan-Uzbekistan IGC next year in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2023

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