RAWALPINDI: The Ambassador of Uzbekistan Furqat Sidikov has said that his country desired Trilateral Trade Commission comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to promote trade, logistic and investment. Uzbekistan has extended its railway line up to Mazar Sharif in Afghanistan and wanted to extend it up to Turkham border in order to facilitate trade with Pakistan.
Addressing business community during his visit to the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), he said Uzbekistan was running direct flights between Lahore and Tashkent twice a week and flights between Islamabad-Tashkent and Karachi-Tashkent would also be arranged soon.
Tourism is increasing between the two countries and we are working closely with Pakistan’s religious ministry to promote and assist pilgrims to the Sufi holy places of Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara, he added. He said Uzbekistan would also welcome Pakistani airlines for direct flights between the two countries.
He said, Uzbekistan and Pakistan enjoyed deep historic religious and friendly relations. He said that Uzbekistan was the biggest trading partner of Pakistan in Central Asia as the bilateral trade between the two countries reached USD 95 million in the last nine months and with the current trend; it was expected to cross USD 300 million in next few years.
Bekzod Mamatkulov, Chairman of Supervisory Board, BMB Trade Group, who was accompanying the envoy, said BMB Trade Group was one of the largest business groups in Uzbekistan and it was now looking for partners in Pakistan as it considered Pakistan an attractive market for business and investment activities.
Bekzod Mamatkulov further added that his group was involved in diversified businesses including development of international economic cooperation, attracting foreign direct investment, consulting services, introduction of modern agro-logistics clusters, export of freshly grown agricultural products, medicinal plants and import of pharmaceuticals to Uzbekistan. He said Pakistan was a potential market for business and BMB was looking for partners in Pakistan for JVs and partnerships.
Speaking at the occasion, Malik Shahid Saleem, President RCCI said that Central Asia is a big market and Pakistan should explore new trade avenues in this region. It is the hour of need to explore the new trade avenues, business opportunities between Pakistan and Central Asia. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has created great business prospects in Pakistan and Uzbek investors should explore Pakistan for JVs and investment. CPEC offers great regional connectivity and integration from South Asia, Central Asian countries and beyond,” he added.
We consider Uzbekistan as a gateway for Pakistan to access Central Asian markets and both countries should focus on developing strong business linkages between private sectors to explore all untapped areas of business collaboration.
Senior Vice President Muhammad Badar Haroon, Vice President Muhammad Fayyaz Qureshi, former presidents, members of the executive committee and a large number of traders were also present on the occasion.