Pakistan, Russia agree to bolster trade ties after rice ban lifted


ISLAMABAD – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday held a telephonic conversation with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov where both agreed to make efforts for increasing the trade volume.

Qureshi also appreciated Russia’s recent decision to lift ban on import of rice from Pakistan. He added that Pakistan attaches great importance to its bilateral ties with Russia. “Strengthening of these ties, after a period of time, is welcome news,” he added.

He also informed the Russian counterparty that Islamabad aims at enhancing cooperation with Moscow in various fields.

He recalled that recent visit of Lavrov to Pakistan in April this year had further strengthened the bilateral ties.

“During the Russian foreign minister’s trip, various regional and global issues came under discussion,” said the Pakistani FM.

FM Qureshi reminded Lavrov that Pakistan sought the early delivery of 5 million doses of the Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine.

Last week, in a major development, Russia has lifted a ban on the import of rice from Pakistan.

The decision, which will give enormous benefit to Pakistan, is based on the implementation of the DPP (Department of Plant Protection) plant quarantine division’s phytosanitary guidance document in rice establishments under Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

Muhammad Sohail Shahzad, Director Technical Quarantine of DPP, was holding negotiation with Russia’s National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) since last year for lifting the ban on import of Pakistani rice.

He ensured the provision of all the requisite technical information, assurances on Pakistan plant quarantine system, pest surveillance and control programme in the rice-growing area and rice establishments to Pakistan to get the ban lifted.

Initially, Russian has allowed import of rice from four Pakistani enterprises, two from Karachi and one each from Lahore and Chiniot.

The permission to other rice units shall be subject to virtual verification by plant quarantine division of DPP.

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