Mr. Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh, Chairman Pak-Tajik Joint Business Council (Pakistan Side), Mr. Tariq Iqbal Soomro, Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Tajikistan and Mr. Rashid Imtiaz, Commercial Secretary, Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Dushanbe, Tajikistan represented Pakistan in the International Entrepreneurship Forum Dushanbe- 2018 held on October 15, 2018 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

While expressing his thoughts in one of the panels on “Investment in innovations for infrastructure development”, Mr. Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh highlighted the potential of bilateral trade between Pakistan & Tajikistan and also stressed upon the need for participation in bilateral exhibitions and forums held in each other’s country. Moreover, he also emphasized on negotiating the Trilateral Transit Trade Agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan & Tajikistan to further smoothen the flow of goods between the three countries.

Regarding transport of goods from Pakistan to Tajikistan via Afghanistan, Mr. Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh informed that his company “Pyramid Logistics” was moving more than 2500 metric tons of perishable goods and approximately, 1000 metric tons of dry items on monthly basis from Pakistan to Tajikistan.

With regard to improved market access for Central Asian countries, especially Tajikistan, Mr. Shaikh highlighted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as an opportunity for creating logistical linkages for Tajik goods to reach all across the world and also create attractive investment opportunities for Tajik businesspersons.

Mr. Rashid Imtiaz, Commercial Secretary, Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was also invited as a panel member and delivered a presentation in the panel on “Investment in innovation for infrastructure development”. While presenting his views, Commercial Secretary identified various challenges & opportunities for regional trade. Poor connectivity, below par infrastructure & logistics, limited or depleting energy resources, lack of trade facilitation at borders, unfavourable regional political dynamics, volatile security situation in the region and lack of integration into regional & global value chains were the major challenges impeding trade at regional level. Alongside the challenges, he also highlighted several opportunities including huge regional market to sell products, export of energy, becoming a transit hub, exploiting regional road networks (being developed under CPEC) and creating regional value chains to maximize benefits for the entire region.

Mr. Imtiaz also highlighted salient features of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and touched upon different projects being undertaken in the areas of connectivity (road & information networks), energy projects, development of industrial parks, agriculture development, poverty alleviation, tourism and non-governmental exchanges. He also highlighted the potential opportunities of CPEC for Tajikistan and other Central Asian countries.

As a way forward, Mr. Rashid Imtiaz stressed upon the need to improve regional connectivity & logistics, negotiate Transit Trade Agreements, implement Trade Facilitation Agreement and tap the regional potential for increasing trade among regional countries.

A team consisting of Mr. Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh, Chairman Pak-Tajik Joint Business Council (Pakistan Side), Mr. Tariq Iqbal Soomro, Ambassador of Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Tajikistan and Mr. Rashid Imtiaz, Commercial Secretary, Embassy of Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Tajikistan called upon Mr. Sharif Said, Chairman of Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Republic of Tajikistan on 16th October 2018. Matters relating to bilateral trade, connectivity (transit & direct flight) and activities of Pak-Tajik Joint Business Council were brought under discussion during the meeting. Mr. Muhammad Yaqoob Shaikh invited the Tajik side to visit Pakistan for holding the next meeting of Joint Business Council. During the meeting, it came to light that Texpo is being planned to take place in April 2019 in Pakistan and it shall be advantageous to hold the next meeting of Pak-Tajik Joint Business Council alongside the Texpo. The meeting ended with the resolve to cooperate further for improving bilateral trade between the two countries.

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