LAHORE - Belarus Minister for Industry Vitaly Mikhailovich Vovk and Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, during the meeting here, agreed to increase cooperation in agriculture, industries, mining and forest sectors.

The Belarus minister also announced to set up tractor assembling plant near Lahore and that its foundation stone will be laid soon. The meeting also discussed prospects of barter trade system and agreed to evolve a future strategy in this regard soon.

The Belarus minister also shared views on promoting trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Belarus. The Belarus minister also formally invited Shehbaz Sharif to visit his country.

The Chief Minister said that Pakistan aspires to benefit from the expertise and experiences of Belarus in industry and agriculture sectors. He said that all out facilities will be provided to the investors of Belarus in Punjab so that trade and economic relations could be further promoted. The meeting agreed to constitute joint working group for the promotion of trade and economic relations between Punjab government and Belarus.

Vitaly Mikhailovich Vovk said that Belarus will promote relations with Punjab government on sound footings and its investors are interested to make investment in Pakistan, particularly Punjab. Federal Minister for Trade Khurram Dastagir Khan, Provincial Ministers Ch Muhammad Shafiq, Sher Ali Khan, Federal Secretary Economic Affairs Division and besides concerned officials, Ambassador of Republican Belarus Andrei G. Ermolovich were also present on the occasion.

The two-day second Pak-Belarus Joint Ministerial Commission meeting concluded on Wednesday with the resolve to promote bilateral trade volume and improve economic cooperation between the two countries.

The meeting was co-chaired by Federal Commerce Minister Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan and Republic of Belarus Minister of Industry, Vitaly Vovk. After having deliberations on various sectors of economy and other matters of mutual cooperation, both the ministers signed meeting’s minutes. The JMC meeting was attended by Belarus Ambassador in Pakistan, Consular, Head of South Asia Affairs Section, and Pakistan’s Economic Affair Division Secretary Tariq Bajwa and other relevant authorities from both sides. The meeting adopted the agenda comprising trade and investment, industry, agriculture, energy, health, education, inter-regional cooperation, sports, culture, banking sector co-operation and barter mechanism.

The meeting also evaluated the progress of the decisions taken during first session of Pak-Belarus JMC held in Minsk on August 7, 2015. During the discussions in the second JMC session, the delegates from both countries presented various proposals to enhance bilateral trade and industrial development, joint ventures, lifting of visa and export/import restrictions, promotion of banking, communication, information technology, media development, industrial and agricultural development, and energy to Pakistan and cooperation in other areas of mutual interest like education, health, culture and sports.

On this occasion, Khurram told media persons that Pakistan greatly values the warm and long-standing relations with the friendly country of Belarus, and committed to further enhancing these bilateral relations. He said political-economic relations between Pakistan and Belarus had witnessed a boost during the last two years, particularly in 2015 following three high-level exchanges between the two countries, as about 68 MoUs and agreements were signed during these visits. Federal minister said that Pakistan and Belarus had tremendous scope to improve trade and economic relations in various sectors, asserting that trade worked as a catalyst in improving political and economic relations between countries, but presently the bilateral trade was much below the potential of both countries. The true potential could only be harnessed by bringing diversification in bilateral trade, adding value to our products, establishing complementarities and creating enabling environments for business, and formation and activation of Joint Business Council (JBC), he added.