Islamabad—Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, Thursday, said that Pakistan and-Turkmenistan had potential to increase bilateral trade volume to $ 25 million. “However, a number of factors including lack of direct cargo links, safe and direct land routes, knowledge of Pakistani products, and visa facilitation hampered expansion of trade with Turkmenistan” he said while addressing inaugural session of Turkmenistan-Pakistan business forum here.
He added that efforts were also being made to overcome these issues and strengthen trade relations with Turkmenistan focusing on enhanced market access, trade promotion and trade facilitation. Pakistan’s accession to the TIR Convention will greatly facilitate Pakistan’s trade with Turkmenistan and other Central Asian States. He added that the holding of the first Joint Business Forum, was a step in the right direction and would be instrumental in deepening linkages between the business communities of the two brotherly countries and significantly raising the level of bilateral trade, which at present is well below its potential.
“In line with the vision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan strong relations with the regional countries stands high on our agenda of cooperation. As an outcome of the visits of the Prime Minister to Central Asian States in 2015, we are witnessing keen interests from the business communities to further cement trade relations” he maintained. He said that trade bodies of both the countries were working hard to develop mutually beneficial economic relations and increased contacts between the business communities for implementing the MoUs.
“TDAP is planning to send a trade delegation of exporters of sports goods on the eve of the 5th Asian Indoor Games. Besides, official participation will also be organized in International Construction Exhibition in Ashgabat” he observed adding that business delegation from Turkmenistan is being invited for attending Textile Expo in Karachi in April, 2016. To give further momentum to trade, TDAP is also considering plans to organize Road Show in Turkmenistan in 2016.
He further said that government attached high importance to its relations with Turkmenistan. Improved connectivity provides the foundation to transform relations into strategic partnership through meaningful economic projects. Therefore, we are keen to see Turkmenistan joining China – Pakistan Economic Corridor to facilitate linkages with Southern Port of Gwadar and Arabian Sea. As we move forward in improving regional connectivity our two countries could further align our economic and trade interests”, he added.