Thursday, 28 April 2011

Pakistan seeks agreement to boost trade with Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan will soon sign a Trilateral Transit Trade and Transportation Agreement (TTTTA) to ensure smooth trade of goods.

Afghanistan will be given transit fee if it ensures smooth supply of goods, said Mohammad Waheed-ul-Hasan, Pakistan's ambassador in Tashkent in an interview with The News.

During the recent visit of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani to Uzbekistan, Islamabad came up with a proposal for this agreement.

"Under the existing mechanism, the drivers of trucks carrying goods between Pakistan and Uzbekistan brave multiple problems including at various check posts in Afghanistan. If restrictions under the name of scrutiny on the way to Uzbekistan from Pakistan are removed, the trade will flourish."

The ambassador said that under the proposed agreement, these issues would be resolved ensuring the scrutiny of the documents of the drivers of trucks and other supporting staff only at the entry and exit points, not at check posts in Afghanistan.

This will end the delays in the delivery of consignments, he said. To a question, the ambassador said that Pakistan has formally submitted with Uzbekistan the draft for Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) that will initially help increase the trade to $400 million between the two countries.

"We will be the beneficiary of the PTA being a member of the WTO whereas Uzbekistan still needs to be a WTO member."

During the visit of Pakistan's PM to Tashkent, President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov extended a special concession under which 100,000 tons of cotton would be directly provided to Pakistan.

Cotton is always exported from Uzbekistan through third party in Dubai. The direct export to Pakistan will reduce the cost of the cotton that will benefit Pakistani textile mills.


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