Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said road and railway connectivity projects between Pakistan and Central Asian states will not only bring the trade communities together, but also usher in a new era of peace and prosperity in the region.
The premier said this during a meeting with a high-level delegation from Uzbekistan led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Investment and Foreign Trade Khodjaev Jamshid Abdukhakimovich in Islamabad.
The premier appreciated the fruitful discussion between the business communities of the two countries "as establishing business-to-business contacts would enhance bilateral trade and investment".
Recalling his recent meetings with Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Samarkand and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit in Astana, Shehbaz reaffirmed Pakistan's resolve to further enhance the existing ties between the two brotherly countries.
The delegation apprised the prime minister of their meetings in Pakistan during which it was agreed to enhance economic and trade ties between the two countries.
They expressed satisfaction that bilateral relations between Pakistan and Uzbekistan are further deepening and the pace of interaction is moving at a positive trajectory.
A day earlier, Pakistan and Uzbekistan signed an agreement to implement the Pakistan-Uzbekistan Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA), which would take effect from February 1, 2023, aimed at enhancing the trade volume to $1 billion.
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To overcome the problems being faced by Pakistani and Uzbek transporters, both countries agreed to take up all the relevant issues with the Afghan authorities. This will be done in a joint visit to Kabul to be undertaken in the last week of January 2023, after finalising a joint agenda to be presented to the Afghan side.
In addition to this agreement, the countries signed eight other agreements to boost bilateral relations in different sectors.
The Uzbek side will complete internal formalities in January 2023 while the Pakistan side has already completed the same to implement the PTA from February 1, 2023.
Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar signed MoUs with Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Khodjave Jamshid Abdukhakimovich.
Both sides discussed the implementation of the agreement between Uzbekistan and Pakistan on Transit Trade (AUPTT). Uzbekistan will notify rules in this regard in February 2023.
Both sides agreed to formulate a joint strategy to facilitate transit trade through Afghanistan. A regional unnderstanding on transit and trade framework is to be prepared including a joint funding mechanism for upkeep of road infrastructure in Afghanistan.