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Jun 01, 2020 PRINT EDITION

LAHORE: Kyrgyzstan is planning to start direct flight operations for Pakistan to promote trade, investment and tourism links between the two countries.

Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan Erik Beishembiev disclosed this, while talking to Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Almas Hyder here at Lahore Chamber on Saturday.

The Ambassador said that direct aerial links between the two countries would help improve two-way trade volume which was very low at the moment, adding, "We need to be connected." He said that Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan enjoyed excellent relations that should be transformed into growing trade and economic ties.

The Ambassador said that Kyrgyzstan was interested in development of shortest and cheapest transportation links through its territory between Central Asia, China and Pakistan with access to Gwadar and Karachi ports by using railway and road network which were being constructed under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He further stated that land route connecting China to Kyrgyzstan through two border mountain passes in Kyrgyzstan - Torugart in the North and - Erkeshtam in the South, located only about 200 km from Chinese city of Kashgar. The road through Kyrgyz border post Irkestam was the shortest way from Fergana valley, which was shared between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to China, he maintained.

He said investing in Kyrgyz Republic was safe, profitable and easy as the main factors were the liberal trade regime, full protection of investments and unlimited repatriation of profits, currency exchange freedom, low business costs, an educated workforce and direct access to state authorities. He informed the LCCI President that cooperation in the field of education was developing more actively and about 2,000 Pakistani students were studying in Kytgyzstan.

LCCI President Almas Hyder said that both countries should work together to boost the mutual trade volume that was below the potential of Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. He said that direct flights should be started as soon as possible to grow trade and economic relations.

He said that Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan enjoyed friendly and cordial relations. The meager trade volume verified that their bilateral business and economic relations had not been adequately developed.

He said that the volume of bilateral trade had been hovering around slightly more than dollar one million. Very few items were being traded as only pharmaceutical products were mainly exported from Pakistan whereas trailers and semi-trailers were imported from Kyrgyzstan.

"We have been talking about exploiting the untapped potential of trade in Central Asian Republics but no significant results have been ever produced," he said and added that main reasons were least knowledge about each others markets and lack of regular bank to bank channels.

Almas Hyder said that Kyrgyz and China shared a long border. Once Pak-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) project got fully operational, it would become much convenient for both the countries to explore each other markets. Footwear, articles of apparel, woven fabric, tobacco items, parts/accessories for tractors and wheat etc. were the potential sectors in Kyrgyzstan for Pakistani exporters.

He said that organizing single country exhibitions on reciprocal basis, exchange of trade delegations and arranging country weeks could prove vital tools for introduction and marketing of products in each others countries.

The LCCI Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal, Amjad Ali Jawa, Aqib Asif, Ali Hassam Asghar, Rehmatullah Javed and Zafar Mahmood were also present.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2019