ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Russia have signed a bilateral trade agreement aimed at facilitating and reducing costs of trade between the two countries.

The deal was signed during a three-day economic conference for Muslim countries that concluded on Friday in Kazan, Russia. The conference brought together participants from 85 countries, fostering a platform for the exchange of business ideas.

Both countries signed the protocol relating to customs cooperation between Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce and the Federal Customs Services of the Russian Federation. This protocol serves as a vital legal framework for the development of commercial relations between the two nations.

In addition to facilitating the smooth movement of goods between Pakistan and Russia, the protocol also offers a substantial customs duty discount for Pakistani products upon entering the Russian market.

The protocol encompasses administrative cooperation and the exchange of information within the framework of the unified Tariff Preferences of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Pakistan’s Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar visited Kazan to represent Pakistan at the conference. During his visit, he held a meeting with Rustam Minnikhanov, the leader of Tatarstan, a region in Russia.

Their discussions primarily focused on strategies to enhance trade and economic relations between Pakistan, Russia, and specifically Tatarstan. Additionally, the minister had the opportunity to connect with prominent business figures attending the conference.

According to an official announcement from the ministry, the signing of the landmark protocol marks another crucial step in establishing the necessary legal framework for the development of commercial relations between Pakistan and Russia.

Mr Qamar, told RT that the trade and political relations between Pakistan and Russia have witnessed significant improvement. He said numerous meetings held between high-ranking officials from both sides, particularly regarding the oil and gas trade.

“I believe that Russia and Pakistan have made significant strides in enhancing their trade and political relations,” he said.

He further mentioned a series of meetings that have taken place between top officials, notably the visit of the Russian oil minister to Islamabad, followed by the visit of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to Russia.

Mr Qamar said both countries have made significant progress in the trade of petroleum products.

He also mentioned that Russia had provided assistance to Pakistan by supplying wheat following last year floods and offering discounts to support the flood victims.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2023

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