Karachi: Pakistan would like to export textile products, leather and citrus fruits to Belarus in addition to rice in order to expand the bilateral trade volume to a higher level.
This was stated by Haji Fazal Kadir Khan Sherani, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry FPCCI, while welcoming H Victor Rybak, the Ambassador of Belarus to Pakistan, resident in Iran, on Monday.
He said that Pakistan’s relations with Belarus go back to the 1960s, when collaboration in the import and assembly of tractors was commenced. However, other than collaboration in the field of tractors, our economic relations unfortunately remain limited, and the trade volume is quite low.
He informed the Ambassador that over the past few years, Pakistan has developed stronger relations with Russia and Central Asia. Last year, FPCCI delegations visited Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Given Belarus’s proximity to Russia, he said that relations with Belarus could also similarly be consolidated. He suggested that besides tractors, Belarus may also assist Pakistan in boosting its automobiles industry. He pointed out that all kinds of heavy vehicles, including buses, dumper trucks, cranes and other construction machinery, were in great demand in Pakistan, but the rates must be competitive to appeal to the Pakistani market.
While responding to the points raised, Mr. Rybak urged Pakistan’s business community to take advantage of the Customs Union arrangement between Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan whereby goods imported into either one of the three states can freely cross borders between the member states of the union. He said Belarus had extremely favourable conditions for setting up new businesses, and Pakistani businessmen should appoint their agents in the capital city, Minsk, to further promote business activity.
He said besides tractors, Belarus was strong in fertilizers, dump trucks, and chemicals. The price of machinery was contingent on the price of metal in Russia, but he said he would convey Pakistani businessmen’s considerations over high prices to the manufacturers in his country.
He also asked for a frequent exchange of trade delegations between the two countries, and said that once ties were stronger, a regular embassy could be opened in Islamabad.
Currently, the Pakistan missions in Tehran and Moscow were serving as accredited missions for Belarus, but if trade continued to grow, he saw no reason why Pakistan would not soon need an embassy in Minsk.
The meeting was concluded with the presentation of the FPCCI Crest to Mr. Rybak.