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April 7, 2021

Pakistan receives tariff concessions list from Uzbekistan

Business

April 7, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is preparing a list of products in need of tariff reduction from Uzbekistan after receiving the same from it under a proposed bilateral preferential trade agreement, officials said on Tuesday.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood held a consultative meeting on the progress made on the Pakistan-Uzbekistan preferential trade agreement (PTA). Secretary Commerce and other officials of the ministry of commerce were present during the meeting.

The meeting was informed Uzbekistan has shared its request list for tariff reduction and ministry of commerce is in the process of finalising Pakistan’s request list in consultation with public and private sector stakeholders. The input of private sector, concerned ministries and departments has been obtained via detailed consultations in last three months. Dawood directed the commerce ministry to have a final round of consultation with the private sector stakeholders, companies trading with Uzbekistan, various chambers and associations to review the ground situation before finalising Pakistan’s request lists.

The meeting was informed that Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) would hold seminars in Karachi and Lahore to apprise the business community about the preferential trade agreement. Sector-specific webinars will be organised by TDAP in next two weeks to complete the process. Uzbekistan and Pakistan in February held the first meeting of joint working group on trade and economic affairs and tripartite working group on the implementation of the trans-Afghan railway project.

The proposed 573km long railway link will be laid from Peshawar to Kabul and from Kabul to Uzbekistan via Mazar-e-Sharif. Estimated 27 stations, 912 artificial constructions and seven tunnels will be established to facilitate cargo movement. The railway link will be crucial to economic development of the three countries, Central Asian Republics and will help strengthening the regional ties. During the meeting of the joint working group, both sides expressed their desire to enhance trade relations between the two countries. In this regard, the two sides discussed streamlining bilateral phytosanitary standards, enhancing Banking Cooperation, working on rail and road connectivity matters and establishment of off dock terminal.

Both sides also discussed the possibility of establishment of joint cargo company by private sector, which can mitigate connectivity issues. The two sides also discussed to revive the joint business council, and assured that bilateral engagements like inter-governmental commission will be held more frequently. They earlier agreed to convince the World Bank for investing around $4.8 billion in rail link among Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan. Presidents of Uzbekistan and Afghanistan had already signed the trilateral joint appeal to the World Bank, and the rail link would play its role for the progress and prosperity of these countries.