PM for urgent operationalization of preferential trade pact with Uzbekistan

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Forms committee to resolve problems of foreign investment companies

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Monday stressed the need to urgently operationalize the Transit Trade Agreement and Preferential Trade Agreement with Uzbekistan in order to fully unlock the immense bilateral economic potential.

The prime minister, in a meeting with Ambassador of Uzbekistan Oybek Usmanov, who paid a courtesy call on him, reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to provide transit access to Central Asian Republics to the ports of Karachi, Bin Qasim and Gwadar. He highlighted Pakistan’s vision for deeper engagement with Central Asia and the important role of Uzbekistan in this regard.

He expressed satisfaction at the level of close and fraternal relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan and emphasized the importance of further deepening bilateral trade and economic ties.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif underlined the significance of Trans-Afghan Railway Project to advance the connectivity agenda and promote regional prosperity. He also invited Uzbek investments in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) of Pakistan, particularly in industrial, electronics and agricultural sectors, which would accrue mutual benefits.

The prime minister stressed the closer collaboration in education, tourism and cultural spheres to promote people-to-people contacts.

Underlining the importance of direct bilateral air connectivity, he urged the respective national airlines to start operations at the earliest to facilitate the movement of businessmen, students and tourists between the two countries.

While highlighting convergent perspectives of Pakistan and Uzbekistan on regional issues, the prime minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong resolve for lasting peace, security and stability of Afghanistan.

Ambassador Oybek Usmanov conveyed greetings from the Uzbek president for the prime minister and said that President Shavkat Mirziyeyov was looking forward to welcome him to the SCO Summit at Samarkand next month. In another meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif constituted a committee to resolve the problems faced by the foreign investment companies, particularly related to Gwadar Free Zone. The committee will submit a comprehensive report along with recommendations to the prime minister within 10 days.

Chairing a high-level meeting on investment, Prime Minister Sharif said the Chinese investment companies would be provided facilities on a priority basis.

He directed to remove hurdles in the issuance of visas to Chinese personnel without any discrimination against the project workers related to China Pakistan Economic Corridor with other countries.

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