Vladimir Norov, Director, Institute for Strategic and Regional Studies of Uzbekistan along with H.E. Furqat A. Sidikov, Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Pakistan visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry and addressing the business community, stressed that Pakistan and Uzbekistan should focus on exploiting their geographical proximity for promoting bilateral trade and economic relations to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for their economies. Maj. Gen. (Retd) Khalid Amir Jaffery, President. Center for Global and Strategic Studies of Pakistan also accompanied them.
Vladimir Norov said that Uzbekistan had US$ 520 million bilateral trade with Afghanistan and our target was to take it to US$ 1 billion. However, with Pakistan its trade was just around US$ 24 million despite the fact that both countries have great potential to promote trade in many areas. He urged that Pakistan and Uzbekistan should accord high priority to improving two-way trade that would bring many benefits to the people of two nations.
He said Pakistan and Uzbekistan could cooperate in many fields including textiles, agriculture, energy, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and others. He said Uzbekistan has established 7 Free Economic Zones with attractive incentives for foreign investors and has envisaged 650 projects involving an investment of US$40 billion. He emphasized that Pakistani investors should explore joint ventures and investment opportunities in Uzbekistan.
Speaking at the occasion, Sheikh Amir Waheed, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Pakistan accorded great importance to its close relations with Uzbekistan and wanted to strengthen these relations in many fields. He said enhanced mutual cooperation was highly beneficial for both countries as Uzbekistan could provide easy access to Pakistan to Central Asian, European and Russian markets while Pakistan could provide better access to Uzbekistan to South Asia, Middle East, Africa and other markets. He stressed that both countries should develop strong linkages between their private sectors that was the best approach to exploit all untapped areas of mutual collaboration.
He said Pakistan could export many products to Uzbekistan including food products, textiles, pharmaceuticals, surgical and sports goods. Similarly, Uzbekistan could export oil & gas, minerals and other products to Pakistan. He said both countries could also promote joint ventures to manufacture various automobiles and industrial goods and can also cooperate in agriculture, energy and other fields. He urged that strong efforts should be made for the materialization of Pakistan-Afghanistan- Uzbekistan Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement that would remove trade barriers and bring huge benefits to all the parties. He underscored that Uzbekistan should explore JVs and investment in CPEC.
Muhammad Naveed Senior Vice President, Nisar Mirza Vice President ICCI and others also spoke at the occasion and stressed the need of developing strong connectivity between private sectors to further strengthen trade and economic relations between the two brotherly Islamic countries.