Ambassador of Uzbekistan to Pakistan H.E. FURQAT SIDIQOV during a meeting at Punjab Board of Investment and Trade said that “Pakistan and Uzbekistan are strategic partners and there is immense scope for increasing bilateral trade and instituting joint ventures between Uzbekistan and Pakistan”. He was leading a delegation comprising of Uzbek diplomats with agenda to follow up on the Prime Minister Pakistan, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s recent visit to Uzbekistan.
He mentioned that “Uzbekistan is the biggest and fastest growing economy in Central Asia and is particularly advanced in agriculture, which is also one of Pakistan’s primary economic sectors”. “Uzbekistan is a major cotton producer and also has a very well-developed indigenous production of cotton-related machinery” he added. He also proposed that the two countries could look at the establishment of joint production facilities in that regard. Significant potential for cooperation also exists in areas such as fertilizers and the agro-chemical industry.
Chairman PBIT informed the ambassador that Punjab is Pakistan’s agricultural heartland and is open for collaboration with Uzbekistan in exploring joint ventures in agriculture.
The Uzbek ambassador also expressed his country’s interest in investing in renewable energy projects in Pakistan, especially solar energy. Chairman PBIT assured the Ambassador that full details of energy-related projects in Punjab would be shared with the Embassy and complete facilitation would be provided by PBIT to Uzbek investors interested in Punjab’s energy sector.
Uzbek ambassador informed that following Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s successful visit to Uzbekistan in November 2015, the Uzbek government had constituted a special working group to increase bilateral trade between Uzbekistan and Pakistan and explore avenues to enhance economic cooperation. He said “the special working group under the leadership of the Uzbek Minister for Industries would be visiting Pakistan in July 2016”. The high-powered delegation would include a number of other senior Uzbek ministers as well as private businessmen.
The Ambassador also informed that Uzbek Airlines would soon be resuming direct flights between Lahore and Tashkent twice weekly which would allow businessmen from both sides to interact more frequently.
PBIT and the Embassy of Uzbekistan agreed to work closely in the period preceding the visit to make it a resounding success.
Both sides stressed the need to drastically increase the current volume of bilateral trade, which was USD 40 million. PBIT agreed to share a list of products that Pakistan wished to export to Uzbekistan.