Islamabad, Moscow chambers ink deal to help boost bilateral trade

January 25, 2023

The Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and the Moscow Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) have signed a Protocol of Intentions to cooperate in fostering economic ties between the two countries' private sectors and boosting trade between Pakistan and Russia. President ICCI Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari and Chairman Head of the MCCI Commission on Foreign Economic Cooperation with Partners in Pakistan, Stanislav Korolev, inked the agreement.

Speaking at the event, Ahsan Zafar Bakhtawari stated that, as their existing bilateral trade is far below their potential, Pakistan and Russia have a big opportunity to improve their economic relations. According to him, both countries should work to increase their bilateral trade to at least $5 billion over the next few years. He added that Pakistan may export a wide range of items to Russia, including rice, leather, sporting goods, medical equipment, medicines, textiles, clothes, and agricultural products.

In order to increase trade, according to Ahsan Zafar, Pakistan and Russia should strike a free trade deal. Pakistan is a sizable market, and Russian businessmen should put money into the country's energy, oil and gas, infrastructure, railroads, and other industries. In order to investigate new opportunities for the development of bilateral trade, he indicated that the ICCI would consider sending a delegation to the MCCI in May or June of this year for business-to-business talks.

Speaking on the occasion, Stanislav Korolev stated that the ICCI should take the lead in establishing business ties with Russia as Russia wants to strengthen its economic links with Pakistan. He stated that he has been working for an Islamic bank in Russia since 2015 to improve trade links with Muslim nations, including Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan and Russia may collaborate in the pharmaceutical industry since Russia is pretty advanced in this area. As the three-day Pakistan-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation examined the prospects for enhancing cooperation in the energy field, he added that the energy ministers of Russia and Pakistan have signed protocols for enhancing cooperation in the energy sector. He believed that the protocol signing between ICCI and MCCI will enhance trade links between the two countries.

According to ICCI Senior Vice President Faad Waheed, Russia assisted Pakistan in creating Pakistan Steel Mills, and together with the MCCI, the ICCI would like to revive comparable Russian ventures in Pakistan. ICCI Vice President Engr. Muhammad Azhar ul Islam Zafar said, Russia and Pakistan should promote regular trade delegation exchanges to investigate all potential areas of collaboration.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk