Uzbekistan seeks Pakistan’s support to utilize Karachi and Gwadar ports for transit trade
Uzbekistan’s government has expressed its willingness to utilize Karachi and Gwadar ports for its trade operations and requested Pakistan’s support for accession to the Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA).
Pakistan and Uzbekistan are also considering the establishment of Joint Working Group for trade and investment cooperation, according to Abdul Razzak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment.
Mr Dawood recently had a conference call with Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Sardor Umurzakov, today. Uzbek Ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Mr. Furqat Sidikov, also joined the meeting in the Ministry of Commerce, Islamabad.
During the meeting, both sides expressed the desire to enhance trade relations between the two countries. They agreed that all out efforts would be made to enhance bilateral trade relations, greater utilization of the institutions like Inter-Governmental Commission and Joint Business Council.
The two countries would also explore trade opportunities in the fields of agriculture, textile, pharma, tourism and construction.
Currently, Pakistan’s exports to Uzbekistan stand at $13.190 million in fiscal year 2019 while Pakistan’s imports from Uzbekistan remained $5.449m in FY19.
Dawood apprised the Uzbek side that a memorandum of understanding for Pakistan-Uzbekistan Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment will be ready for signing after seeking approval from the cabinet of Pakistan.
He assured the Uzbek side of Pakistan’s support to join Quadrilateral Traffic in Transit Agreement (QTTA).
What is QTTA?
QTTA is an agreement between China, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to facilitate transit traffic and trade related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) aimed at providing China and Central Asia access to Pakistani ports. A road project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will provide access to China and the Central Asian States to Pakistani ports.
QTTA provides Pakistan a gateway to Central Asia utilizing the Karakoram Highway (which links Gilgit-Baltistan to China’s Xinjiang region) as a transit corridor, offering an alternative route bypassing Afghanistan to reach Central Asian States via China.
Pakistani ports offer landlocked Central Asian states the closest maritime facilities for trade.