KARACHI: Negotiations between Russian and Pakistani banks are in an advanced stage for opening branches in both the countries.
If all goes well, both the sides would be in a position to set up their bank branches in the first quarter of next year.
In the meantime, the Mosoble Bank of Russia and CresBank of Pakistan would facilitate trade transactions and payments through correspondents so that transfer of funds through unofficial channels is stopped.
This was disclosed by Dr Zahid Khan, executive director of Russian Business Council for Cooperation with Pakistan and representative of Mosoble Bank, Timoshenkov Artem at a dinner on Friday.
There are many other Russian banks which are keen to develop banking relations with their counterparts in Pakistan but some issues related to regulation by the two central banks is causing delay, he added.
There had been long demand from the business community of both the countries for opening up of bank branches to regularise payments of imports and exports between the two countries.
Dr Zahid Khan said that Mosoble Bank of Russia and CresBank of Pakistan are expected to set up their branches early next year.
However, he said till such time branches are not opened, both the sides have agreed to provide services to business community by making arrangements for transfer of funds and other services through correspondence.
He stated that other banks from Russia which have shown interest in opening of their branches in Pakistan included Mosco International Bank and Foreign Economic Bank, which is having 51 per cent government holding.
The Mosoble Bank initially entered into negotiations with other banks, including Habib Bank Ltd and MCB Bank, but talks only progressed with Cresbank.
Dr Zahid further said both the sides are looking for liberal and open policy for their setups provided their regulators allow them.
Earlier Brig (retd) Tariq Khalil, secretary general of Pakistan-Russia Business Forum (PRBF), said there was good scope of trade between the two countries.
He said for the first time such a large number of businessmen and industrialists from Russia are visiting Pakistan.
The two delegations from Russia consist of 34 members with interest in construction, textiles, energy, fresh fruits and vegetables are holding business-to-business meetings with their counterparts.
Abdul Rauf Tabani, founder-president of PRBF, said that the present trade turnover between the two countries does not reflect the real potential, particularly when Russia is amongst 10 top economies of the world.
He stressed the need for expanding trade relations by holding trade fairs and exchange of delegations.