International The News - 8 July 2021
Pakistan, Uzbekistan set to sign TTA on 15th
By Khalid Mustafa
Pakistan is all set to sign the Transit Trade Agreement (TTA) with Uzbekistan in Tashkent on July 15, paving the way for having access for its products to the 90 billion dollars market of five Central Asian States. The signing of TTA will be the beginning of Pakistan’s policy to have regional connectivity.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will be in Tashkent to witness the signing ceremony of the Transit Trade Agreement with Uzbekistan. The Uzbekistan president would also be there. Pakistan’s premier will address a seminar on Trade and Investment on July 15 in Tashkent under the banner of Silk Route Reconnect.
Pakistan’s delegation of over 100 businessmen will also reach Tashkent to have B2B (business to business) meetings with their counterparts in Uzbekistan to explore the market for their products. Pakistan and Uzbekistan will hold a joint ministerial conference on trade and investment. In addition, technical-level talks would be held between the two countries. The Pakistan-Uzbekistan Business Council would hold its meeting on July 14 in which Pakistan’s 100 businessmen, mainly from textile, pharmaceutical, agro-food processing, engineering, electrical appliances and services sectors, would make B2B deals.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textiles and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said all this while talking to The News in an exclusive interview. He said the Transit Trade Agreement would guarantee free movement of Pakistani trucks carrying goods in Uzbekistan and Uzbek trucks in Pakistan. The transit agreement would be governed under the Convention of TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers or International Road Transports).
Razak disclosed that Pakistan will provide off-dock facilities to Uzbek traders at Bin Qasim and Gwadar ports for reaching the markets of Middle East, India, Africa and other countries and in return Uzbekistan will provide off-dock facilities to Pakistan in its border area adjoining Afghanistan. From there, Pakistan will be able to reach markets of other Central Asian Republics.
He said some of the Central Asian Republics have approached Pakistan for transit trade and Free Trade Agreements. However, Pakistan is currently focusing on Uzbekistan for the Transit Trade agreement and FTA.
He said Uzbekistan is the gateway to important Central Asian Republics such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. More importantly, Uzbekistan is also the gateway for the Russian federation.
He said Pakistan has shown readiness to sign the free trade agreement (FTA) during the visit of the prime minister, but authorities in Uzbekistan seem not ready. He said under the FTA, Pakistan will get duty relief on its over 100 tariff lines and Uzbekistan on 37 tariff lines. The current bilateral trade with Uzbekistan stands at just 37 million dollars, which will escalate manifold once the FTA with Uzbekistan is signed. He, however, mentioned that the total trade of Uzbekistan with the world stands at $30 billion out of which its exports are at $11 billion and imports stand at $19 billion.