Pakistan and Uzbekistan on Monday finalised agreements to expand investment and increase bilateral trade to $1 billion.
To this end, Commerce Minister Naveed Qamar and Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister Khodjave Jamshid Abdukhakimovich signed nine Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).
Talking to the media on the occasion, Qamar said the two countries had decided to implement the Preferential Trade Agreement from February 1, 2023.
In a press release issued afterwards, the commerce ministry said the two countries also discussed the implementation of the Agreement between Uzbekistan and Pakistan on Transit Trade (AUPTT) and Uzbekistan would notify rules in this regard in February.
They also decided to undertake a joint visit to the Afghan capital in the last week of January to discuss problems faced by Pakistani and Uzbek transporters.
“Both sides agreed to formulate a joint strategy for transit trade through Afghanistan. Regional understanding on Transit and Trade Framework to be prepared including joint fund/mechanism for the upkeep of road infrastructure in Afghanistan.”
Uzbekistan requested an off-dock terminal at Karachi and Gwadar ports and was assured full facilitation, the statement added.
Besides this, the countries also decided to hold trade exhibitions and prepare a strategy to cooperate in e-commerce.
The Uzbek delegation is scheduled to meet a number of officials during its visit, including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev had visited Pakistan earlier this year. During his visit, a number of agreements and MoUs were signed by the two sides. An MoU was signed between Uzbekistan’s Ministry of Tourism and Sport and Pakistan’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony to promote religious tourism. Another MoU was inked between the two states in the field of environment and climate change.
Pakistan and Uzbekistan have been closely collaborating at regional and international fora especially at the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organisation, and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.