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LAHORE: Yerzhan Kistafin, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Pakistan, has said there is huge potential for Pakistan textile industry in $ 2 billion Kazakhstan textile imports, as the current contribution from Pakistan is yet negligible.

He urged Pakistani textile groups to focus on high value products which are more in demand in Kazakhstan.

He said concrete steps are being taken from the government Kazakhstan and Pakistan to enhance bilateral trade and benefit from mutual potentials and added that a delegation of Kazak businessmen has been invited to Pakistan for holding Business to Business (B2B) meetings at APTMA Lahore office.

Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) North Zone Kamran Arshad welcomed him at the APTMA Lahore office along with Senior Vice Chairman Asad Shafi and Secretary General of the Association Raza Baqir on Monday.

The visiting Kazak envoy was accompanied by First Secretary Olzhas Tobyshakov besides a couple of leading Kazak businessmen. The delegation members held meetings with Pakistani counterparts from the textile industry to devise strategies for taking exports to various destinations around the world, including Kazakhstan.

Those who held business meetings with Kazak delegation included Asad Shafi from Cross Stitch, Aamir Abdulla from Sapphire Denim, Mujtaba from Lama Retail, Faisal Shakeel from Umar Group, Rizwan Shafi from Cresset Bahuman and representatives from the US Apparel.

Meetings between the two sides continued throughout Monday in the presence of the Kazak ambassador.

The visiting envoy said the two countries had already signed numerous agreements, including an agreement on Income Tax Convention and Final Protocol. Similarly, he said, an agreement has been signed between State Bank of Pakistan and the National Bank of Kazakhstan for cooperation in banking.

Establishment of bilateral relations in the field of Urban Economic Management between CDA Islamabad and Akimat of Astana of the Republic of Kazakhstan is another important agreement signed between the countries in the past, he added.

So far as bilateral investment agreements are concerned, he said, both the sides have signed a protocol of bilateral negotiations for accession of Kazakhstan to the WTO besides an agreement on cooperation between Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the two countries, and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up a Joint Business Council between the Chamber of International Commerce of Kazakhstan and the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce.

According to him, Kazakhstan Export Agency and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan have also signed MoU for mutual cooperation.

He invited APTMA delegation to the 12th Inter-government Joint Commission meeting to be held in Kazakhstan from December 20-25.

According to him, negotiations on transit trade are underway between Kazakhstan and Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, chairman APTMA highlighted the problems in bilateral trade with Kazakhstan, saying that the issues confronting bilateral traded included logistic issues, obtaining and using Letters of Credit in trade with Kazakhstan, language barriers in labeling the goods in Kazakh or Russian language, difficulties in land rout due to security situation in Afghanistan, delay in signing of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and a delay in completion of trans Afghan railway line.

He said there is a need of strengthening of banking channels between Pakistan and Kazakhstan, an early signing of PTA, utilization of OIC, ECO, and Shanghai trade cooperation platforms for expansion of bilateral trade, joint investment in the textile industry and establishment of joint ventures, frequent exchange of trade delegations, synergies in bilateral trade expansion, mutual capacity building in textile sectors, and bilateral exchange of business delegations to identify trade and investment options as a way forward to solidify trade and investment relations between Pakistan and Kazakhstan, he added.

Raza Baqir extended vote of thanks to the visiting Kazak delegation at the end of the meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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