The Kyrygz market is open to Pakistani businessmen and investment in it would be profitable, said Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan Erik Beishembiev on Saturday.
Addressing the business community at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he urged the businessmen to take advantage of this opportunity through joint ventures in pharmaceutical, rice agriculture, education, tourism and various other sectors.
The Kyrgyz ambassador added, “Kyrgyzstan is not developed in pharmaceutical sector and offers great opportunities to Pakistani pharma companies.”
The ambassador said that his country greatly valued relations with Pakistan and that was why it sought further diversification and strengthening of the relations. He said that Kyrgyz-Pakistani historical relations could be traced back centuries ago.
He said that direct flights between the two countries on a regular basis would help improve trade and cooperation in the tourism sector. He said that both countries were rich in mineral resources, had high skilled human resources, excellent opportunities for developing industry and agriculture, attracting foreign investments for joint production and supply of goods including for export.
Beishembiev said that Kyrgyzstan was interested in development of short transportation links through its territory between Central Asia and China and Pakistan with access to the Gwadar and Karachi ports, using railway and automobile roads, which were being constructed in the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
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“Today, shortest automobile roads connect China to Kyrgyzstan through two border mountain passes in Kyrgyzstan – Torugart in the north and – Erkeshtam in the south, located only about 200-km from the Chinese city of Kashgar,” he added.
Responding to a question from the LCCI president, the ambassador said that Pakistani businessmen could invest individually or through joint ventures in Kyrgyzstan. He said that Pakistan could use Kyrgyzstan as a gateway to enter into the European Union market and could avail benefits from GSP Plus status.
Also speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Tariq Misbah appreciated the Kyrgyz ambassador for keeping good liaison with the Lahore Chamber to find new avenues for increasing trade and economic ties between the two countries.
He asserted that very few items were being traded between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan for the last many years. The main reason for such a low level of two-way trade, which stood at $2.2 million in 2019, was little knowledge about each other’s markets.
Misbah said that Pakistan’s exports to Kyrgyzstan were just $2.17 million while global imports of Kyrgyzstan were touching $5 billion. “There is great scope for Pakistan to enhance its exports to Kyrgyzstan in sectors of pharmaceuticals, value added textiles, agriculture products, surgical instruments, and sports goods. Pharmaceutical sector deserves a special mention as Pakistan has made great strides in this sector after the Covid pandemic,” the president added.
He said that Kyrgyzstan could also help Pakistan enhance its exports to the EU under the GSP Plus regime. “We will certainly like to encourage Pakistani investors to explore joint ventures in Kyrgyzstan to promote exports to EU countries and Central Asia,” he added.
He said that they had been talking about exploiting the untapped potential of trade in Central Asian Republics. He said that Kyrgyzstan and China shared a long border, therefore, Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan should make good use of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for attaining better connectivity to deeply explore each other’s markets.
Misbah said that once the Covid situation improved, both sides should plan for the exchange of business delegations. The regular flights between the two countries would also help in improving bilateral trade.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2021.
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