The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) has inked a Protocol of Intentions with Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) to work jointly for promoting business linkages between the private sectors of both countries and enhancing bilateral trade between Pakistan and Russia.
President ICCI Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari and Chairman, Commission on Foreign Economic Relations with Partners in Pakistan of MCCI Stanislav Korolev, signed the document during a ceremony held at ICCI.
President, Pakistan Trade House in Russia Dr. Zahid A. Khan, was also present in the signing ceremony.
Speaking at the occasion, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari said that Pakistan and Russia had great potential to enhance trade relations as their current bilateral trade was far less than their actual potential.
He said that both countries should make efforts to take bilateral trade to at least US$ 5 billion within the next few years.
Pakistan could export many products to Russia including agricultural products, textiles, clothing, pharmaceuticals, rice, leather, sporting goods, surgical equipment and others, he added.
Ahsan Zafar said that Pakistan and Russia should sign a free trade agreement to boost trade volume adding that Pakistan was a huge market and Russian investors should invest in energy, oil & gas, infrastructure development, railways and other sectors in Pakistan.
He said that ICCI would consider taking a delegation to MCCI in May or June this year for B2B meetings to explore new areas of bilateral trade promotion.
Senior Vice President, ICCI Faad Waheed said that Russia had helped Pakistan in establishing Pakistan Steel Mills and we would like to revive similar flagship Russian projects in Pakistan in cooperation with Moscow Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Vice President ICCI Engr. Muhammad Azhar ul Islam Zafar said that Pakistan and Russia should encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations to explore all untapped areas of mutual cooperation.
Meanwhile, Stanislav Korolev said that Russia wanted to expand trade ties with Pakistan and ICCI should lead efforts for promoting business relations with Russia.
He has been working since 2015 for an Islamic Bank in Russia to promote trade relations with Muslim countries including Pakistan, he added.
He said that Russia is quite advanced in the pharmaceutical sector and can cooperate with Pakistan in this field.
He said that the Energy Ministers of Russia and Pakistan had signed protocols for boosting cooperation in the energy sector as the three-day Pakistan-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation has examined the prospects for boosting cooperation in the energy field.
He hoped that the signing of protocol between ICCI and MCCI would contribute to improving trade ties between the two countries.
Ameer Hamza, Humayun Kabir, Maqsood Tabish, Sheikh Ejaz, Ch. Muhammad Ali, Khalid Chaudhry and others also spoke on the occasion and gave useful proposals for improving bilateral trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Russia.—APP