News Analysis |
The honorable Ambassador of Tajikistan, Jononov Sherali has stated that his country wants to improve trade ties and investment relations with Pakistan as the geographical locations of both countries offers them great opportunities for regional cooperation and liaison in many areas of common interest.
The ambassador said this while addressing an assemblage of different members of the business community at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry. While identifying cross trade elements, he said that energy, cement, mining, transportation, agriculture and tourism held the maximum potential for mutual cooperation between Pakistan and Tajikistan.
“Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the Central Asian countries, particularly Tajikistan, as the two countries enjoy fraternal ties, share common goals of peace and prosperity for their peoples and the region as a whole.”
He said that Tajikistan was ranked amongst the top 10 countries in terms of ease of doing business with during 2010, 2011 and 2014 by various think tanks around the world and that displayed the attraction that Tajikistan held for business and investment. Ambassador Sherali gave a detailed presentation about the investment opportunities in Tajikistan, stating that Tajikistan had established 4 Free Economic Zones where Chinese and Turkish investors were pooling in investments.
On the dissenting note, he said that Pakistani investors were missing out on these opportunities and laid stress to the point that the Pakistani business community needs to invest in Tajikistan and to create joint ventures in order to export products to the lucrative market of Central Asia. He said that Tajikistan was working to re-launch direct flights to Pakistan, which would help in bilateral trade relations and cultural exchanges.
Also speaking at the occasion, Sheikh Amir Waheed, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Pakistan and Tajikistan could indeed complement each other in various areas and stressed that both countries need to focus on developing strong connectivity amongst their private sectors to explore all untouched areas of mutual cooperation.
They said both countries should accelerate efforts for timely completion of CASA 1000 transmission line project and early finalization of PTA to create conducive environment for trade promotion.
He suggested that Tajikistan should share its hydropower generation expertise and technology with Pakistan in order for Pakistan to help overcome its energy crises. He said that this could prove as a great stepping-stone in improving bilateral relations. Mr. Waheed said that Pakistan could look into exporting many of its key products to Tajikistan including pharmaceuticals, food, agriculture, textiles, sports goods, leather products and surgical instruments.
Mr. Waheed pointed out that the major obstacle in improving trade relations was the absence of a direct mass transit route and that both the governments need to work towards developing a transit route and to focus on establishing direct road, railways and air links that would facilitate trade promotion.
Muhammad Naveed, Senior Vice President, and Nisar Mirza, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry suggested that Tajikistan should review and revise its tariffs on Pakistani products that would help in improving two-way trade volume. They said both countries should accelerate efforts for timely completion of CASA 1000 transmission line project and early finalization of PTA to create conducive environment for trade promotion.
Mr. Waheed said that Pakistan could look into exporting many of its key products to Tajikistan including pharmaceuticals, food, agriculture, textiles, sports goods, leather products and surgical instruments.
Last month, President Mamnoon Hussain met with the honorable President of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon and exchanged views on matters of bilateral trade, participation in CPEC and regional development and security. President Mamnoon Hussain said that Pakistan offers excellent opportunities to Tajikistan for its imports and exports through the Gwadar port and invited the country to benefit from the trade route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The president hoped that the legal process for Tajikistan’s entry into Quadrilateral Traffic-in-Transit Agreement (QTTA) would provide the Central Asian country a legal framework to access Pakistani seaports through CPEC. The QTTA is a transit trade deal between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan with a road project under the umbrella of CPEC and talks are underway for Tajikistan to join this initiative.
President Mamnoon Hussain said, “Pakistan attaches great priority to the timely completion of CASA-1000 (Central Asia South Asia) by 2018 and looks forward to importing electricity from Tajikistan.” He also called for exploring the implementation phase of CASA-1000 and initiating physical work on the key project for its in-time completion. “Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the Central Asian countries, particularly Tajikistan, as the two countries enjoy fraternal ties, share common goals of peace and prosperity for their peoples and the region as a whole.”