Turkmenistan invited to join CPEC to boost its external trade

Islamabad: Federal Minister for Commerce, Khurram Dastgir Khan Thursday invited Turkmenistan to join China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and promote its external trade through Arabian Sea by utilizing the Pakistan’s southern port of Gwadar.

“The port of Gwadar can prove very beneficial for all the Central Asian Countries, including Turkmenistan to promote their trade through Arabian Sea in the East,” the minister said while inaugurating the first-ever Turkmenistan-Pakistan Business Forum (TPBF) here.

Khurram said that the Pakistan was keen to improve relations with Turkmenistan and this dream could be materialized by improving connectivity between the two countries.

“Improved connectivity provides foundation to transform relations into strategic partnership through meaningful economic projects,” the minister said adding that both the countries have entered into new phase of relations after organizing TPBF.

The minister said that the bilateral trade between the two

countries was just $25 million, which is far behind their potential, so efforts are required to improve the trade volume.

He enumerated that lack of direct cargo links, safe and direct land routes, knowledge of Pakistani products and visa facilitation were the main hinderances that have been hampering trade growth between the two countries.

He said that efforts are being made to overcome these issues and strengthen trade by enhanced market access, trade promotions and facilitation.

The minister said that in line with the Prime Minister’s vision, strong relations with the regional countries stands high on the government’s agenda of cooperation.

He said that the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) would send trade delegation of exporters of sports goods to Turkmenistan on the eve of the 5th Asian Indoor Games while official participation would also be organized in the International Construction exhibition to be held in Ashqabad while a Road Show would also be organized in Turkmenistan to showcase Pakistani products.

The minister said that a business delegation from Turkmenistan is being invited to attend Textile expo in Karachi in April this year.

Earlier, speaking on the occasion, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Water Economy Ministry of Turkmenistan, Maksatmyrat Atayev invited Pakistani investors to invest in various sectors in Turkmenistan economy.

He said that Turkmenistan has been developing textile industry with special focus on production of export quality products, adding that currently 80 percent of country’s textile products are exported.

Speaking on the occasion, Representative of the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Economic Relations of Turkmenistan Serdar Atagylyjev said that Pakistan and Turkmenistan have great potential to cooperate with each other and promote bilateral trade.

He said that both the countries could cooperate in the sectors of oil and energy, agriculture, mining and technology.

Representative of the Ministry of Industry of Turkmenistan, Atajan Bayromov also spoke on the occasion gave a detailed presentation on the construction material industry of his country and briefed the audience how it could help trade promotion.

Chief Executive Officer PTDA, S. M. Munir said that both the countries have great trade potential however, concrete efforts are required to tap this potential. He expressed the hope that this forum would help further strengthen mutual cooperation.

President Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Abdul Rauf Alam said that the geo-strategic location of Pakistan provides huge opportunities to turkmenistan to promote its trade through it.

Representative of Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Turkmenistan, Tahyr Atahanov, on the occasion expressed the hope that this meeting would help promote bilateral trade relations between the two countries.  APP