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PESHAWAR: Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Sherbaz Bilour has stressed the need of promoting regional trade to further improve the country’s exports.

In this regard, the SCCI chief proposed that Free Trade Agreement and Preferential Trade Agreements should be signed between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics. He praised the government’s initiatives under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan towards promotion of regional trade. Sherbaz Bilour was talking to Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan, Ulanbek Totuiaev and Kazakhstan Ambassador to Pakistan, Yerzhan Kistafin during a meeting here at the chamber house on Wednesday said that trade volume between Pakistan and regional countries is very low, which need to be boosted up at optimal level to improve the country’s export.

SCCI Senior Vice-President Engineer Manzoor Elahi, Vice-President Junaid Altaf, newly-elected members of SCCI’s executive committee, Hussnain Khurshid Ahmad, Javed Akhtar, Pervaiz Khan Khattak, president Industrialist Association Hayatabad Peshawar Malik Imran Ishaq, commercial and trade counselors, and high-officials from both embassies were present during the meeting.

On the occasion, both sides have agreed to establish a strong business-to-business linkage, exchange of trade delegations, holding of joint exhibitions as well as devising a concrete mechanism/roadmap to remove hurdles in the way of trade between Pakistan and Central Asian Republics and highlighting business community issues at the governments’ level.

SCCI chief called for removal of hurdles in the way of bilateral trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian Republics. KP is a gateway for trade with Central Asian Republics as huge potentials are available to further strengthen bilateral trade and economic ties between Pakistan and regional countries, said Bilour.

However, he lamented that no concrete efforts were made in the past to boost up trade with CARs to improve the country’s export. He emphasized that a joint roadmap should be designed to remove all irritants and obstacles in the way of regional trade.

On the occasion, SCCI chief invited investors of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to make investment in potential sectors in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He mentioned that being landlocked countries, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan should utilize Karachi and Gwadar Ports as a transit for onward trade with the rest of the world.

Ulanbek Totuiaev while speaking on the occasion stressed the need for bolstering mutual trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan. He said his country is a feasible and better transit route for trade with regional countries wherein investors were providing all facilities for carrying out smooth trade.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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