Pakistan, Russia resolve to strengthen economic relations

January 24, 2023

Upon its conclusion in Islamabad, the Eighth Session of the Pakistan-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation reiterated its dedication to robust and all-encompassing bilateral economic cooperation. The three-day session was presided over by Russian Minister of Energy Nikolay Shulginov and Pakistani Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq, while senior level delegates, including ministers and officials from both sides also attended.

A joint statement issued after the IGC meeting said working under the express guidance of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Russian President Vladimir Putin, "both sides took the opportunity to reaffirm their commitment to a strong and comprehensive economic relationship. They (also) reiterated that such a relationship contributes to the economic well-being of the two countries as well as the region."

Both sides proceeded from the discussions and decisions of the Seventh IGC and carried the process forward, as well as explored additional avenues of cooperation. The two sides "agreed to further strengthen and enhance collaboration in the fields of trade and investment, energy, communication, and transport, higher education, industry, railways, finance and banking sector, customs, agriculture, science and technology, and information technology." They "observed and noted positive prospects for implementable and concrete projects in above-mentioned sectors of the economy with a huge potential for the socio-economic development of both countries."

The commission agreed that the relevant ministries and departments from both sides would vigorously follow up to exploit this potential for common prosperity. Both sides have agreed that after consensus is achieved on the technical specifications, the oil and gas trade transaction will be structured in a way that has mutual economic benefit for both countries. The process is to be completed by March 2023.

According to the joint statement, both sides have agreed to strengthen energy cooperation, enhance energy trade, and broaden energy infrastructure investment based on strategic and favourable commercial terms. "Both sides have agreed to work on a ‘Comprehensive Plan for Energy Cooperation,’ which would form the foundation for future work and is to be finalised in 2023," it added.

They agreed that the Pakistan Stream Gas Pipeline Project should be considered in terms of a comprehensive infrastructure that is economically viable for sustainable gas infrastructure development to ensure affordable gas supplies. The Russian side was invited towards potential projects of the federal and provincial governments of Pakistan, including in the public-private-partnership mode, and requested that the Russian businessmen explore these possibilities.

Both sides have resolved the pending issues related to the exchange of information on certificates of origin of goods with the use of an electronic verification system. The two sides have agreed that they shall endeavour to finalise the above-mentioned protocols by the end of May 2023.

The IGC decided to nominate focal persons from both sides to enhance mutual cooperation and discuss issues concerning connectivity and logistics in Central and South Asia. The two sides also agreed to take necessary measures to increase bilateral cooperation in science, technology, and higher education, especially academic linkages, collaborative and impactful research, training and development, and learning, besides enhancing the interest of Pakistani citizens in education in the Russian Federation.

They also discussed innovative ways of doing business, including through barter, and agreed to explore the option further. With the desire to promote regional integration and Eurasian connectivity, the two sides agreed to share information towards developing and improving rail and road infrastructure.

The IGC also signed three documents during the three-day meeting: an agreement regarding cooperation and mutual assistance in customs related matters between the two governments, a protocol on the exchange of documents and data on the customs value of goods transported between the two countries, and a working agreement on the airworthiness of aeronautical products.

Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk