ISLAMABAD

Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan has offered the members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to use Pakistani ports once the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is complete to get access to trade routes through Arabian Sea.
He was addressing the gathering at the meeting of Ministers of Commerce of SCO in Xian, China. The minister said that Pakistan's trade strategy focuses on developing linkages with our neighbors, leveraging our geographical location, and capitalizing on regional connectivity initiatives.
He emphasized that cross-border land trade is especially important for landlocked member countries as Pakistan and SCO countries will benefit substantially from greater integration through energy, commerce and transit trade.
He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a landmark initiative under the umbrella of One Belt One Road and this economic corridor will connect the nodes of growth centers, falling between Kashgar and Gwadar. CPEC envisages connectivity and expansion of trade and investment through a network of roads, rail, fiber optic cables, and energy pipelines.
Dastgir was of the view that Pakistan's geo-strategic position offers Central Asian states access to the warm waters of Arabian Sea and huge markets of South Asia. He said that Pakistan provides critical overland routes and connectivity for mutually beneficial trade and energy transactions.
In line with the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of shared prosperity through connectivity, Pakistan has undertaken several initiatives which include rebooting of Quadrilateral Agreement for Traffic in Transit (QTTA) between China, Kyrgyz Republic, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. The QTTA provides Pakistan a gateway to Central Asia and the landlocked Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan access to Pakistani seaports via China Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The minister informed the gathering that to further facilitate intra-regional connectivity, Pakistan recently has acceded to TIR Convention which would ensure a more efficient and faster movement of goods across our borders to the countries of Central Asia.
He said that one of strategic aim is to utilize Pakistan's unique geo-political position to build trade, energy and communications corridors linking South Asia, West Asia, Central Asia and China.
SCO members include China, Kazakhastan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has visited all the countries in SCO after assuming office in order to explore and develop strong political, economic and trade ties with these countries.Pakistan has an observer status at SCO and is scheduled to become full member state in January 2016 which will provide new impetus Pakistan's relations with the member states.