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Tajikistan envoy says that a direct flight between Lahore and Dushanbe is a priority

Lahore, November 03, 2012 (PPI-OT): The Ambassador of Tajikistan Zubaydullo Zubaydov has said that a direct flight between Lahore and Dushanbe is one of the priority areas that are under active consideration to strengthen bilateral trade and economic relations between Pakistan and Tajikistan.

The Ambassador was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday. The LCCI president Farooq Iftikhar, Vice President Mian Abuzar Shad, Honorary Consul Nazir Ahmad Piracha, former Vice President Aftab Vohra, Executive Committee Members Mian Zahid Javed, Mumshad Ali and Husnain Reza Mirza also spoke on the occasion.

While urging LCCI President to constitute a sector-specific delegation to Tajikistan, the Ambassador gave his unequivocal assurance to the business community that the Tajik government is ready to make special arrangements for Pakistani entrepreneurs.

The Ambassador agreed that there exist a lot of trade potential between the two sides and to tap the potential, the Tajik embassy in Pakistan is ready to work out a strategy to expedite dissemination of all trade related information.

The ambassador said that all the issues being faced by Pakistani businessmen would be resolved soon as new rules of business are being framed to facilitate them.

Speaking on the occasion, the LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said that the ECO countries are well placed in terms of their economic potential and can become a major hub of trade and energy. Therefore, this regional grouping of ECO needs to be activated on the lines of EU and ASEAN.

He said that it was very unfortunate Pakistan does not figure prominently among the trading partners of Tajikistan. The major reasons are lack of transportation facilities and absence of developed banking system in Tajikistan.

The volume of trade between the two countries was around US$ 4.6 million in 2009 which increased to US$ 6.9 million in 2010 but last year it dropped to US$ 0.74 million.

The main reason was no more import of cotton that used to be 70 to 80 percent of total imports from Tajikistan. Similarly our exports to Tajikistan which are way below than US$ 1 million are also not keeping the pace.

From 2009 to 2011 our exports are constantly following downward trend. We could only manage to export US$ 975 thousands, US$ 688 thousands and US$ 623 thousands respectively.

In last two years our pharmaceutical products have shown some improvements in terms of getting major share in exports earnings. Last year pharma related products constituted to almost 90% of total exports to Tajikistan.

The ground realities favour trading of such products which are light in weight and costly in terms of value. Since the businessmen choose to get their shipments airlifted because of difficult and risky land routes, so, we need to identify more such items like sports goods, technical/medical apparatus, tobacco and precious stones etc.

Keeping in view the security concerns in Afghanistan, the businessmen have to consider other options like trading via Turkey or Russia. But these routes take away the competitive advantage of trade which compels them to look for other viable destinations.

A greater interaction between the Chambers of Commerce of the two countries, exchange of trade delegations, holding of single country exhibitions can increase the volume of our bilateral trade.

Pakistan can also serve as an energy and trade corridor for Tajikistan through Gwadar Deep Seaport connected with Central Asian States and China with a network of roads. We at LCCI are ready to collaborate with Tajik business community in order to support any initiative taken to develop the bilateral trade ties.

For more information, contact:
Shahid Khalil
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
11-Shahrah-e-Aiwan-e-Tijarat,
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +9242 111 222 499
Fax: +92 42 636 8854

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