ISLAMABAD: Uzbekistan on Thursday formally sought Pakistan’s support for accession to the Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA) in a bid to utilise Karachi and Gwadar ports for its trade operations.
The formal request was made by Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Sardor Umurzakov during a video conference with Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Razak Dawood. Uzbekistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan Furqat Sidikov also joined the meeting held at the Ministry of Commerce in Islamabad.
The QTTA is a transit trade deal among Pakistan, China, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to facilitate the passage of goods and traffic. A road project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will provide access to China and the Central Asian States to Pakistani ports.
Responding to the request, Dawood assured Pakistan’s support for Uzbekistan in QTTA.
Pakistan plays a central role in the QTTA which is believed to be an alternative route bypassing Afghanistan and relying on the Karakoram Highway via China to reach Central Asian States.
Uzbekistan also sought the establishment of Joint Working Group for trade and investment cooperation.
An official statement following the meeting said that Uzbekistan requested Pakistan to support its cause in accession to QTTA, and share its experience on achieving the Generalised System of Preferences Plus status.
Dawood apprised the Uzbek side that a memorandum of understanding for Pakistan-Uzbekistan Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment will be ready for signing after seeking approval from the cabinet of Pakistan.
During the meeting, it was resolved that all out efforts would be made to enhance bilateral trade relations, establishing joint ventures in various areas including agriculture, textile, pharmaceuticals, tourism and construction.
Pakistan’s exports to Uzbekistan stood at $13.190 million FY19 as against $9.254m over the previous year. Similarly, Pakistan’s imports from Uzbekistan are very negligible as it stood at $5.449m in FY19 as against $3.640m over the previous year.
Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2020