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LAHORE: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan Ruslan Kazakbaev has invited Pakistani investors to investment in the tourism and energy sector of Kyrgyzstan.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI Senior Vice President Mian Rehman Aziz Chan presented the address of welcome while Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan Ulanbek Totuiaev and LCCI President Haris Ateeq also spoke on the occasion.

The Minister said that Kyrgyzstan is famous for its tourism sector and its 90% area is mountainous. He said that Pakistani investors should come forward and invest in hotels and resorts in Kyrgyzstan. He said that the energy sector of Kyrgyzstan also has a lot of potential. Pakistani investors can also invest in small hydel power projects.

He said that his country is interested in transit trade through Pakistan and wants to use Pakistan’s seaports. He said that meetings with President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan were very positive. He hoped that these meetings would further strengthen the relations between the two countries.

Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that all the Muslim countries need to collaborate with each other and contribute every possible effort to preserve and promote Islamic values of peace, compassion, tolerance, equality, justice and human dignity.

Talking about Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan mutual relations, LCCI SVP said that both the countries have deep cultural, religious and diplomatic relations. In contrast to all these strong bonds and mutual relations, both countries have yet to become sound trading partners.

He said that very few items are being traded between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan for the last many years. According to State Bank of Pakistan’s statistics, Pakistan’s exports to Kyrgyzstan were just $2 million in 2020-21 while there were almost no imports made from Kyrgyzstan. The main reasons of such a low level of trade volume between two countries include limited knowledge about each other’s markets and absence of sound banking channels.

Mian Rehman Aziz Chan said that there is a great potential for Pakistan to increase its exports to Kyrgyzstan in the sectors of Value Added Textiles, Sports Goods, Surgical Instruments and Automotive Parts. Kyrgyzstan can also make use of the expertise of Pakistan in the IT sector.

“Lahore Chamber has been advocating for exploiting the untapped potential of trade in Central Asian Republics. Kyrgyzstan and China share a long border. He said that Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan should make good use of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for attaining better connectivity to deeply explore each other markets,” he added.

LCCI SVP said that the shortest route from Chinese city of Kashgar to Kyrgyzstan is about 200km, through two Kyrgyz passes of Torugart and Erkeshtam. These areas should be utilized to provide direct access of the warm waters of Gwadar port to Kyrgyzstan which is one of 45 landlocked countries in the world.

LCCI Vice President Haris Ateeq said that promoting mutual trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan could be a milestone in regional and global trade integration and connectivity. The geo-strategic position of both countries is unique and very important, which could play a significant role in promoting trade connectivity amongst other Republics of Central Asia.

He said that there is a need to put concerted efforts from the respective governments and private sectors to fill the present gap in communication to enhance market awareness.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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