Karachi: Ample potential to increase Pak-Russia bilateral trade was reviewed here during a meeting of SITE Association with the Consul General of the Russian Federation.
Andrey V. Demidov, Consul General, Consulate General of the Russian Federation at Karachi, visited S.I.T.E. Association of Industry wherein he was welcomed by Naseem Anwar, Senior Vice Chairman and Chairman, Int’l Relations, Diplomatic Affairs Subcommittee, S.I.T.E. Association of Industry, along with the Members of Executive Committee of the Association.
A brief introduction of S.I.T.E. Association of Industry was given to the Consul General, who was informed that the industries of various sectors are operating in this biggest and oldest industrial estate of the country, having potential to increase bilateral trade ties between Russia and Pakistan.
The Russian Federation, being a growing economy and associate of BRICS Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, can play its role in the development of Pakistani economy.
The Consul General was highlighted to resolve bottlenecks and hindrances in enhancing the trade relation between the two countries. Pakistan being the 5th largest wheat, rice, cotton, milk and onion producing country has ample potential to promote bilateral trade relations for promotion of economies of both the countries.
It was also pointed out that there exists a severe lack of communication which can be bridged through sector wise B2B exchange programs, sector specific company information. The Power & Gas sectors, where Pakistan is facing serious problems and needs Joint Ventures for IPPs. The small and medium sized Hydel power projects including the run of the river type projects be initiated between Russia and Pakistan. There is a need of creating linkage between Moscow Chamber of Trade & Commerce with S.I.T.E. Association of Industry so that direct access is available. A focal person from S.I.T.E. Association of Industry & Russian Consulate should be nominated so that progress is made. Meetings on quarterly basis to ascertain the progress would be more fruitful.
Regarding export of textiles and problems faced by the Pakistani exporters with Russia due to non availability of Banking Channels, L/C problems and non transparent mode of payment stops business in moving forward with Pakistan & Russia. The buyers are reluctant due to the varying tariff on the textile goods which needs standardization. It was also discussed that despite cordial relations with Russia the problems of shipment regarding import from Russia through mediatory party via Dubai are also a hurdle due to which no direct import / export between the two countries could be enhanced.
It was also discussed that tourism industries of both the countries can play a vital role to boost up the economy of each other by exchange of visitors bilaterally. Russia being rich in Oil & Gas resources may come forward to resolve the energy crisis of our country.
It was also discussed that efforts be made to proceed towards execution of Free Trade Agreements between both the countries, which may prove one of the best ways to enhance volume of bilateral trade.
The Consul General of Russian Federation thanked the participants for the warm welcome extended to him. He said that new ideas for promotion of bilateral trade are useful in the changing world where priorities have changed and although there are some constraints which we have to mutually resolve.
He took keen interest for import of potatoes from Pakistan to Russia, there is potential of cooperation but the absence of direct air link / seaport link and misinterpretation of the image of Pakistan by the media, hinders the true vision of Pakistan as a potential country for mutual trade. He said despite of signing MOUs no tangible progress seem to be made as yet as such we have to go beyond MOUs.
He further said that lack of proper information of different business sectors need to be revisited and for that reason Pak Russia Business Council has been formed at FPCCI where the current information regarding the specific topics of trade & exhibitions schedule for Pak Russia Business / trade can be obtained. He said that Consulate has recommended to the Government of Russia for Single Country Exhibition in Pakistan.
The CG assured to resolve the L/C problem and desired that a complete list of problems be forwarded to the Consulate regarding energy requirements a proposal may also be submitted. He assured full cooperation for issuance of visa to the Pakistani business and tourist delegations intending to visit Russia.
Others present in the meeting were Dr. Qazi Ahmed Kamal, Vice Chairman, S.I.T.E. Association of Industry, Muhammad Yasin Saya, Ali Ahmed, Ahsan Arshad Ayub, Muhammad Saleem, Tahir Zaman, Yousuf Yaqoob, Members Executive Committee & Asad Nisar, Immediate Past Sr. Vice Chairman.