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LAHORE: Ambassador Kazakhstan to Pakistan Yerzhan Kistafin on Tuesday said that Pakistan is a regional power and bolstering cooperation between the two countries will be helpful for the entire Central Asian Region besides jacking-up the two-way trade to the new highest.

He was talking to the LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir and Vice President Haris Ateeq at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI Executive Committee Member Mian Ateeq-ur-Rehman, First Secretary Dilyara Kempirbayeva, Third Secretary Arnat Abeuov and Honorary Consul General of Kazakhstan Ahmed Rafi also spoke on the occasion.

The Ambassador said that Kazakhstan and Pakistan have exemplary diplomatic relations which can be extended to new areas of cooperation. Good relations between both the countries need to be reflected in bilateral trade and commercial ties. Pakistan is a very promising market due to its large population and it is attractive to foreign investors.

He said that Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan discussed bilateral agenda and economic cooperation during meeting with Kazakhstan President in Dushanbe. Probably the President of Kazakhstan will visit Pakistan during the next year.

The ambassador said the last session of Pak-Kazakh Inter-Governmental Commission was held in Islamabad in February last year in which it was agreed to establish three working groups on economic cooperation, energy cooperation and cooperation in regional connectivity. He said that the new session of the working groups will be held in November.

The Ambassador said Kazakhstan is the biggest landlocked country in the world and we understand the importance of regional connectivity. Afghanistan could be the most beneficial country if trade increases between Pakistan and Kazakhstan though it.

He said that exchange of TV programmes can enhance cultural cooperation between the two countries to get to know each other’s traditions, festivals and cultures. “Our nations have been cooperating for centuries but nowadays there is less information about the culture and lifestyle of the people of both countries. He said we need to enhance awareness about each other”, he added.

The Ambassador emphasized the need for direct communication between businessmen and people of the two countries. He also called to re-activate the Kazakhstan and Pakistan Business Council.

He said that the private sectors of the two countries should step into the joint ventures in textiles, pharmaceutical, agriculture, education and other sectors of economy. Pakistan can also get access to the other countries through Kazakhstan.

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that Kazakhstan that is the world’s largest landlocked country and has one of the lowest population densities. Kazakhstan is the largest economy in Central Asia with large oil and natural gas reserves and also one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse countries in the world as more than 130 ethnicities reside peacefully in Kazakhstan.

LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir said that Pakistan and Kazakhstan are both member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organization and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

He said that both countries have strong diplomatic, historical, religious and political linkages but we have yet to succeed in exploiting the untapped trade potential to become key trading partners.

The LCCI President said that according to the statistics by the State Bank of Pakistan, we are having a favourable trade balance with Kazakhstan as our exports stood at 79.7 million dollars in 2020-21 as compared to meagre imports from Kazakhstan which were just 2.5 million dollars. This puts the total volume of trade at around 82 million dollars.

Mian Nauman Kabir said that however, during the first quarter of current financial year (July-September) the bilateral trade figures have started to improve as our exports to Kazakhstan have gone to 28.6 million dollars and the imports from Kazakhstan stood at 2.6 million dollars.

He said that the main items of Pakistan’s exports to Kazakhstan include rice, oil seeds and fresh fruits etc. whereas the imports from Kazakhstan comprise mostly of chemicals. There is considerable potential for Pakistan to enhance its exports to Kazakhstan in areas of pharmaceuticals, value added textiles, leather items, auto parts, ceramics and furniture etc.

Mian Nauman Kabir added that exchange of trade queries through your Embassy can play a helping role in increasing trade activities between two countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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