Pak-Uzbek to increase bilateral trade upto US$1 billion: Ambassador Usmanov

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ISLAMABAD, JUL 24 (DNA) — Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Pakistan, Aybek Arif Usmanov on Sunday said Pakistan and Uzbekistan intend to increase the bilateral trade volume upto US$1 billion in the coming two years.

The current bilateral trade between the two countries is $180 million, which is expected to reach $1 billion in the next two years by the mid-2024, Ambassador of Uzbekistan, Aybek Arif Usmanov told a state media here.

In response to a question, he said that the implementation of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Uzbekistan is going on and bilateral trade will get development through it.

The Ambassador said that negotiations will be held every year to review the PTA between the two countries to make it further more productive for both sides. He further said that the two countries used to have online discussions in this regard, in which the process of discussion on Terrif rationalization continues. He said that at this time mutual trade barriers and customs issues were major issues in both countries and for resolving these issues both of the countries are working on a mechanism?

In response to another question, he said that a transit trade agreement has been signed between Pakistan and Uzbekistan in this last year, which has a very important role in promoting mutual trade. Related to this, the transport and logistics sector is also important, in which the governments of the two countries are in negotiate for improvement.

The Ambassador said that on March 28 of the same year, a tripartite transport and logistic conference was held in Uzbekistan in which the transport and communication ministers of Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan participated and many problems were resolved through mutual discussions.

In this conference, Uzbekistan announced the establishment of International Temiz Cargo Center, which will provide benefits and trade facilities to the traders of the three countries, he added. He said that the governments of both the countries are implementing a comprehensive plan for the increase of mutual trade in the two countries and for the promotion of mutual trade in the future.

Which includes working on rail and road network for regional economic and trade integration and connecting the countries of the region including China, Central Asia and South Asian countries in terms of trade and promoting economic relations with Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)countries.

Ambassador Arif Usmanov said that road and rail links are very important for the promotion of mutual trade between the Central Asian states, especially Uzbekistan, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and this work has been started. He said that work has been started on China, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan railway line.

This railway line should be connected to Jalalabad and Peshawar railway line from Termiz of Uzbekistan, which will establish economic and trade relations with the countries of the region, including China, a major economic power. He said that the role of the third party Afghanistan will be very important in any kind of mutual trade agreement between Pakistan and Uzbekistan and enough work has been done in the three countries.

Replying to another question, he said that Uzbekistan, as the chair of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization annual summit 2022 of the SCO Heads of State Council, was hoisting on September 15-16 in Samarkand.

The Uzbek Ambassador said that Pakistan and Uzbekistan have a very important role to play in providing trade and economic integration to the SCO member countries, which will usher in a new era of economic integration in all member countries. He said that SCO member Countries could play a key role in global and regional economic and trade integration in the current scenario.

The SCO has important member countries in terms of geo-economic and geopolitical position, including developed economies, which can play an important role in the development of global and regional economies through this organizational platform, he said.

The Ambassador said that technology, information technology and renewable energy would be the major topics at the SCO summit this year which would help in reshaping trade and economic relations between the member countries.

There will also be sessions on telemedicine at the Summit this year, which has led to the introduction of many facets in the medical field after Covid-19, which could open up new avenues for economic cooperation in the member states, he said. He said that at the same time, member states are likely to sign agreements on renewable energy?

The Ambassador said that the leadership of the SCO countries, including the Central Asian countries, is now fully committed to the economic and trade integration of the member countries and increase in bilateral trade and economic activities.

Ambassador Usmanov said that facilities and road and rail links are very important in bilateral and transit trade which will increase economic activities in SCO countries. In response to a question, he said that apart from agreements between Pakistan and Uzbekistan at the national level, consideration is now being given to enhancing bilateral economic and trade relations between the provinces and major cities.

In which agreements have been reached between the province of Punjab of Pakistan and the province of Namangan of Uzbekistan, he said.Similarly, agreements have been reached with the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Peshawar and the Uzbek cities of Samarkand and Surkhandarya to increase economic cooperation. =DNA