ISLAMABAD - Ambassador of Tajikistan Jononov Sherali has said that his country wanted to further enhance trade and investment relations with Pakistan as geographical locations of both countries offered them great potential to cooperate with each other in many areas.

He was addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He identified energy, cement, transport, mining, agriculture and tourism as potential areas of cooperation between Pakistan and Tajikistan.

He said Tajikistan was among top 10 countries for ease of doing business during 2010, 2011 and 2014, which showed it was quite attractive for business and investment. He gave a detailed presentation about the investment opportunities in Tajikistan. He said Tajikistan has established 4 Free Economic Zones where Chinese and Turkish investors were making good investments. However, he said Pakistani investors were losing these opportunities and stressed that they should invest in Tajikistan to export products to huge market of Central Asia. He said Tajikistan was working to restart direct flights to Pakistan that would help trade relations.

Speaking at the occasion, Sheikh Amir Waheed, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Pakistan and Tajikistan could complement each other in many areas and stressed that both countries should focus on developing strong connectivity between their private sectors to explore all untapped areas of mutual cooperation. He said Tajikistan should share its hydropower generation expertise and technology with Pakistan to overcome its energy problems. He said Pakistan could export many products to Tajikistan including pharmaceuticals, food, agriculture, textiles, sports goods, leather products, surgical instruments.

He said that major hurdle in improving bilateral trade between Pakistan and Tajikistan was the absence of direct transportation facility and urged that both countries should focus on establishing direct road, railways and air links that would facilitate trade promotion.

Muhammad Naveed, Senior Vice President, and Nisar Mirza, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that Tajikistan should revise its tariffs on Pakistani products that would help in improving two-way trade volume. They said both countries should accelerate efforts for timely completion of CASA 1000 transmission line project and early finalization of PTA to create conducive environment for trade promotion.