LAHORE          -         Ambassador of Tajikistan Ismatullo Naserdin has stressed the need for taking steps for enhancing volume of bilateral trade between the friendly countries.

Speaking at a ceremony at Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Wednesday, he said that volume of bilateral trade was far less than the actual potential. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, Honorary Consulate Mian Nazeer Ahmed Piracha and CEO PBIT Jahanzeb Burana also spoke on the occasion. Executive Committee members Yasir Khursheed, Wasif Yousaf, Haji Asif Saher, Malik M Khalid and Shehryar Shafqat were also present.

The ambassador said that the trade between the two countries was limited to few commodities. He said that transportation and communication related challenges could be tackled by joint working. He said that direct flights between Tajikistan and Pakistan could save travelling time and help improving mutual trade.

While inviting Pakistani businessmen to invest, the ambassador said that Tajikistan has four Special Economic Zones and one of them was near Afghan border. He said that these SEZs offer lots of facilities for investors. He said that Tajikistan also has cheapest and sufficient electricity. He said that textile sector has also vast opportunities for the investors. He said that last year almost 47000 Pakistani tourists visited Azerbaijan but only a few thousands visited Tajikistan. He said that both countries should step into joint ventures in tourism sector.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that serious efforts were required to transform cordial and brotherly relations into two-way trade for enhancing economic prosperity in both countries.

He said that Pakistan’s total trade with Tajikistan was merely 12.76 million dollars. Pakistan’s exports to Tajikistan were around 9.41 million dollars as against imports of 3.35 million dollars.

 “Pakistan’s exports to Tajikistan are dominated by sugar related products while the imports comprise primarily of cotton. Bilateral trade volume can be enhanced to 500 million dollars”, he said.

The potential areas for enhancing trade could be hydro power generation, halal meat, cement, pharmaceutical products, furniture, rice and LPG. He said that with the completion of China Pakistan Economic Corridor project, there would be new avenues of trade and investment for both countries. In addition to that, Wakhan Corridor could also be utilized as it further shortens the trade route.

“The important steps which can prove to be imperative in enhancing trade are exchange of trade delegations, single country exhibitions, direct flights and close liaison between trade bodies of both the countries”, he added.