Uzbek envoy says Punjab has potential of $1b trade

In Business
April 04, 2024



LAHORE:

In a press statement released on Wednesday, Ambassador of Uzbekistan Oybek Arif Usmanov expressed that the province of Punjab alone has the potential to reach a $1 billion trade volume with Uzbekistan. He stated that 60 to 70% of the combined mutual trade between the two countries involves Punjab.

These remarks were made during his address at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), where Trade and Economic Counsellor Bakhrom Yusupov, Honorary Counsel General Najeeb Mushtaq Vohra, LCCI Senior Vice President Zafar Mahmood Ch, Vice President Adnan Khalid Butt, and other officials were also present.

The ambassador highlighted a 50 to 60% increase in trade between Uzbekistan and Pakistan over the past four years, with bilateral trade volume rising from $300 to 400 million in the last year alone. He highlighted the potential for growth and regional connectivity between Central Asia and Pakistan.

A roadmap for industrial cooperation has been presented to the Pakistani government to enhance mutual investment and promote joint ventures in both countries. The ambassador noted the increasing interest of Pakistani companies in Uzbekistan, particularly in the electrical and agricultural machinery sectors.

Efforts from the Lahore Consulate, led by Honorary Counsellor Najeeb Mushtaq Vohra, have contributed to the growth in trade volume, the envoy acknowledged.

He stressed the need for research and development in various sectors such as cotton, garments, agriculture, chemicals, and textiles. An international forum will be held in Tashkent from May 2, 2024, and LCCI president and delegation members have been invited to participate. Additionally, LCCI members are encouraged to take part in a single-country exhibition in Tashkent from June 28 to 30 to showcase their products.

Transport companies from both countries have played a significant role in increasing trade volume, with driving permits increasing from 500 to 3000 this year. Furthermore, feasibility studies for the Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan Railway Project are expected to be finalized within two months.

LCCI President Kashif Anwar highlighted Uzbekistan’s importance in Central Asia and Pakistan’s “Vision Central Asia” Policy, aiming to strengthen bilateral cooperation across various sectors, as per the statement. He mentioned the $1 billion trade deal signed last year and expressed hope for its successful implementation. An array of agreements, including the Preferential Trade Agreement and Transit Trade Agreement, are expected to boost bilateral trade volume, with efforts to enhance trade ties in sectors like agriculture, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and renewable energy.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2024.

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