Pakistan and Kazakhstan both have agriculture and industry based economies therefore they should enhance cooperation in these areas. Both the countries are looking for foreign direct investments and cooperation between the two sides would help yield the desired results.
These views were expressed by the Ambassador of Kazakhstan Akan Rakhmatullin while speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI Senior Vice President Ali Hussam Asghar and Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad also spoke on the occasion. Executive Committee members Fiaz Haider, Haris Attique, Haji Asif Saher, Aqib Asif, Khalid Usman, M. Arshad Khan, Shafeeq Ahmad Butt, Zeeshan Sohail Malik and former Vice President Faisal Iqbal Sheikh were present on the occasion.
The Ambassador said that it is a time to work closely to increase bilateral trade volume. There is a lot of trade potential between the two countries. He said that B2B contacts and exchange of trade delegations can contribute a lot in this regard.
He assured his full cooperation to Pakistani business community for arranging meetings with their counterparts in Kazakhstan. He invited Pakistani Businessmen to invest in Free Economic Zones in Kazakhstan which are exempted from all sort of taxes.
While answering a question about the tourism sector, the Ambassador said that Kazakhstan doesn’t have a lot to offer tourists but Pakistan has a great potential in this sector and tourists from Kazakhstan would love to visit this piece of land that abundant with natural beauty and historical places.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that diplomatic relations of Pakistan and Kazakhstan date back to early 1990s as Pakistan was among the first countries in the world to recognize Kazakhstan as a sovereign state in 1991 after the demise of Soviet Union.
He said that Pakistan and Kazakhstan are both member states of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). With such strong diplomatic, historical, religious and political linkages, both countries have potential to become key trading partners
The LCCI President said that in 2017, the two-way trade volume was around 78 million dollars which went up to 90 million dollars in 2018 owing to 24% rise in Pakistan’s exports to Kazakhstan.
The items of Pakistan’s exports to Kazakhstan include rice, oil seeds and fresh fruits etc. whereas the imports from Kazakhstan comprise mostly of chemicals. Although trade balance has been in favour of Pakistan and it is following an increasing trend but its magnitude needs to be increased.
He said that there is considerable potential for Pakistan to enhance its exports to Kazakhstan in areas of pharmaceuticals, value added textiles, ceramics and furniture.
“In order to enhance the volume of trade, more tradable items should be identified while keeping in view the market demands in two economies. There is also a strong need for increasing people to people contact through trade delegations to help business matchmaking and linking potential buyers and suppliers”, Irfan Iqbal Sheikh added.
He said that earlier this year an agreement was reached at a meeting between Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Kazakhstan in Bishkek on the sidelines of SCO Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting to enhance the bilateral trade volume to 1 Billion Dollars.
Both the countries need to work for establishing a solid and cost effective transport system to enhance trade. Rail and road network up-gradation under CPEC can be utilized for this purpose as China and Kazakhstan share a long border with each other.
‘We believe that exchange of trade queries through embassies can play a helping role in increasing trade activities between two countries”, the LCCI President concluded.