(MENAFN - Daily Outlook Afghanistan) ISLAMABAD - Ambassador of Uzbekistan Furqat Sidikov said that his country desired a trilateral trade commission comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to promote trade, logistic and investment.
Uzbekistan has extended its railway line up to Mazar Sharif in Afghanistan and wants to extend the same up to Torkham border in order to facilitate trade with Pakistan, he added.
Addressing business community during his visit to Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday, he said that Uzbekistan was running direct flights between Lahore and Tashkent twice a week and flights between Islamabad-Tashkent and Karachi-Tashkent would also be arranged soon.
Tourism is increasing between the two countries and we are working closely with Pakistan's religious ministry to promote and assist pilgrims to te Sufi holy places of Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara, he said. He said that Uzbekistan would also welcome Pakistani airlines for direct flights between the two countries.
He said that Uzbekistan and Pakistan enjoyed deep historic religious and friendly relations. He said that Uzbekistan was the biggest trading partner of Pakistan in Central Asia as the bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $95 million in the last 9 months and with the current trend, he said, it is expected to cross $300 million in next few years.
Bekzod Mamatkulov, Chairman of Supervisory Board, BMB Trade Group, who was accompanying the envoy, said that BMB Trade Group is one of the largest business groups in Uzbekistan and is now looking for partners in Pakistan as it considered the country an attractive market for business and investment activities.
Bekzod Mamatkulov said that his group was involved in diversified businesses including development of international economic cooperation, attracting foreign direct investment, consulting services, modern agro-logistics clusters; export of freshly-grown agricultural products, medicinal plants and also import of pharmaceuticals to Uzbekistan. He said that Pakistan was a potential market for business and BMB was looking for partners in Pakistan for JVs and partnerships.
Speaking at the occasion, Malik Shahid Saleem, president RCCI, said that Central Asia was a big market and Pakistan should explore new trade avenues in the region. It is need of the hour to explore new trade avenues and business opportunities between Pakistan and Central Asia. He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative had created great business prospects in Pakistan and the Uzbek investors should explore Pakistan for joint ventures and investment. The CPEC offers great regional connectivity and integration from South Asia, Central Asian countries and beyond, he added.
We consider Uzbekistan as a gateway for Pakistan to access Central Asian markets and both countries should focus on developing strong business linkages between private sectors to explore all untapped areas of business collaboration, he said. (Agencies)