Pakistan and Russia agreed to strengthen bilateral ties in all areas of mutual interest including political, trade, economic, energy, education, and people-to-people contacts.
The agreement was made during a plenary session of the sixth Pak-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation here. Minister for Economic Affairs Muhammad Hammad Azhar led the Pakistani delegation while Russia’s Minister for Industry and Trade Denis V Manutov led the Russian delegation.
From Pakistan side, secretaries of the Economic Affairs Division and Foreign Affairs and senior representatives from ministries of foreign affairs, commerce, energy, national food security and research, industries and production, planning and development, aviation, Federal Board of Revenue, Board of Investment, Ministry of Railways, Petroleum Division and Power Division participated.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Muhammad Hammad Azhar briefed the forum about the recent economic developments and outlooks and highlighted improved indicators of Pakistani economy especially current account balance. He apprised the Russian side of the successful implementation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program, bright future prospects of Pakistani economy and the huge potential of trade and investment between the two sides.
RUSSIAN INTEREST: While both sides exchanged views on the prospects of mutual economic cooperation in multiple sectors especially energy, trade, transport, industries and production, railways, agriculture and science, and technology. Prospects of Russian investment for the revival of the Pakistan Steel Mills were also discussed. The Russian side expressed keen interest in the energy sector such as the North-South Gas Pipeline.
Discussions were held on removing the temporary ban on Pakistan’s agriculture exports including rice and potatoes. Both sides resolved to increase volume of bilateral trade from the present levels to its true potential through greater cooperation and enhanced business activities by the private sector of the two countries.
The Russian side invited Pakistan to organize a roadshow in Moscow to provide an opportunity to Russian private companies to explore new avenues in Pakistan. On the other hand, the Pakistani side invited Russia for their presence in trade expos held in Pakistan.
The Russian side was apprised that Pakistan held the bilateral and economic relations with the Russian Federation in high esteem which was evident by the recent settlement of the long-standing settlement of mutual financial claims between the two countries. The Pakistan side appreciated that Russian had supported in laying the foundation for its industrial growth by extending support in establishing the Pakistan Steel Mills.
The officials expressed firm resolve to continue such interactions at a higher level to better understand the development needs, opportunities of cooperation and investment in the emerging sectors and remove any obstacles in trade and investment. The seventh session will be held in Moscow on mutually agreed dates.
RAILWAYS’ UP GRADATION: The Pakistan-Russia Inter-Government Commissions (IGC) on Trade, Economic, Scientific, and Technical Cooperation are held alternately in the capitals of both the countries. The sixth session of the joint moot was held in Islamabad.
Addressing journalists, Minister Hammad Azhar said that Pakistan and Russia had agreed for a joint venture to enhance cooperation for the up-gradation and modernization of Pakistan railways infrastructure. “I believe that Russia has expertise in this sector and we will expand cooperation for introducing modern locomotive in local trains to resolve issues of design and speed of trains,” he added.
He said that Pakistan and Russia relations had now entered a new phase of development to search the new avenues for economic integration and business to business ties. “We are negotiating for Russian investment in the local market and the government has invited them to bring investment in the mines sector.”
Minister of Industry and Trade Denis V Manutov said that Pakistan and the Russian federation were committed to enhancing the bilateral traded and further cooperation in aviation, professional training and capacity building of the local industrial sector. He said that Russian investment groups were keenly interested to invest in the pharmaceutical sector, medical machinery, and aviation.