Kazakhstan to start talks on trade deal next month: envoy

Published November 21, 2022
Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan Yerzhan Kistafin speaks at a  seminar organised by the Centre for Pakistan and International Relations on Sunday. — Photo courtesy COPAIR Twitter
Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan Yerzhan Kistafin speaks at a seminar organised by the Centre for Pakistan and International Relations on Sunday. — Photo courtesy COPAIR Twitter

ISLAMABAD: Kazakhs­tan would initiate dialogue on the preferential trade agreement with Pakistan next month and one of its airlines would start operations to Pakistan’s major cities from January, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Pakistan Yerzhan Kistafin said on Sunday.

Speaking to the media at a seminar organised by the Centre for Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR), the envoy said Kazakhstan’s commerce and industry minister would visit Pakistan next month to discuss the trade agreement, among other things.

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Kemeluly Tokayev would also visit Pakistan soon “to develop close relations between the two nations”, the ambassador said.

He hoped that the trade volume could easily be expanded from $197 million at present to $1 billion, and underlined information technology, pharmaceuticals, textiles and agriculture as important sectors.

Says direct flights to major cities of Pakistan will also begin from January

Mr Kistafin said a joint working group was already working to improve economic relations and regional economic integration in Pakistan and Kazakhstan.

The ambassador said his country believed in regional connectivity and stressed that mutual economic integration of South Asia and Central Asia would lead to prosperity across the region.

Major changes had taken place in the global economic scenario, which could improve the livelihoods of both countries, he said, adding that there were around 60 Russian companies working in Kazakhstan at present.

He emphasised that the population of both Pakistan and Kazakhstan mostly consisted of youth, and both countries could benefit from this human resource pool. “Kazakhstan is the largest economy in the Central Asian region, which offers a huge economic potential,” he said.

On flight operations between the two countries, Mr Kistafin said Kazakhstan’s SCAT Airlines would start direct air flights from January to major cities of Pakistan, including Islamabad and Karachi.

He hoped that direct flights would strengthen mutual economic and trade relations and possibly boost bilateral tourism.

“Air, railway and road links are important for regional economic connectivity, for which a lot of progress has been made in Pakistan and Kazakhstan. A transit trade agreement is going to be signed in this regard, which would help accelerate bilateral trade,” he said.

The ambassador also informed the participants about the 7th Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions and the 6th CICA Summit held in the capital of Kazakhstan this autumn, in which Pakistani high officials also participated.

Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2022

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