Pakistan and Turkey are looking to increase their bilateral trade to $5 billion in the near-term, as they seek to capitalise on their close political and strategic ties, officials from both countries said on Tuesday.
Turkish Ambassador in Pakistan Dr. Mehmet Pacaci said that the two countries had signed a Trade in Goods Agreement (TGA) and that Pakistan had joined the TIR convention, which facilitates land-based cargo transportation.
“These steps would provide new opportunities for enhancing trade and economic cooperation,” Ambassador Pacaci said at a meeting with the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) in Karachi, where he was accompanied by a team of senior Turkish diplomats.
He said that Pakistan, with its population of nearly 250 million, was very important for Turkey economically, and that the long-term bilateral trade potential could reach $20-25 billion.
Pacaci also emphasized the importance of people-to-people (P2P) linkages between Pakistan and Turkey, and said that both countries should make full use of mutually-shared multilateral platforms such as OIC and ECO.
FPCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh welcomed the ambassador and expressed his desire to strengthen the existing emotional and strategic relations with Turkey.
He said that there was an enormous but yet untapped potential for Pakistan and Turkey to forge partnerships in modern agricultural technologies, advanced defense production, alternative and renewable energy, food and beverages industry, and hospitality and tourism.
He also stressed the need to explore new avenues to export to Turkey, as the current bilateral trade volume of $1.3 billion was way below the true potential.
FPCCI Senior Vice President Muhammad Suleman Chawla said that expansion of economic relations must incorporate industrial collaborations and transfer of technology.
FPCCI Vice President M. A. Jabbar expressed his profound concerns that the emotional and strategic relations with Turkey had not translated into trade, investments and economic relations.
He also called upon the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) to focus on Turkey, as their rigorous decision-making process and one-window modus operandi could greatly help in bringing Turkish investments into Pakistan.
Amjad Rafi, Chairman of FPCCI’s Pakistan-Turkey Joint Business Council (PTJBC), maintained that Pakistan and Turkey should put in place a practical and efficient currency swap agreement to overcome the lack of commercial banking channels and other issues with corresponding banks.
He also informed that land-based cargo under TIR reached Istanbul in less than two weeks, which was around 30 percent of the time required through sea-based cargo. Cost of goods transportation could also be more than halved through this manner, he added.
Source: The News