5TH SESSION OF PAK-TAJIKISTAN JOINT COMMISSION ON TRADE, ECONOMIC AND SCIENTIFIC-TECHNICAL COOPERATION

Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..

Islamabad (Staff Reporter)The 5th Session of Pakistan–Tajikistan Joint Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation was held in Islamabad on June 15-16, 2016. The Session was Co-chaired by Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Water and Power and also Co-chair of Pakistan whileMr.Usmonali Usmonzoda, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Republic of Tajikistan led Tajikistan side.

During the two days of the Session, detailed meetings were held between the experts of the two sides on a number of issues, especially focussing on Trade & Commerce, Energy, Agriculture, Education, Science & Technology and other matters of mutual interest.  During the closing session, Protocol of the Session was signed by both Co-chairs, based on major actions/decisions.

During his stay in Pakistan, Mr. Usmonali Usmonzoda, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Republic of Tajikistan called-on Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources and Minister for Commerce.

The highlights of major decisions taken during the meetings of the 5thSession of Pakistan–Tajikistan Joint Commission are as under: -

i.            Both sides agreed to enhance business to business contacts through organizing the second meeting of Joint Business Council on the sidelines of the Inaugural Session of Joint Working Group on Trade, Investment and Transport at Dushanbe in October 2016.

ii.            Both sides agreed to sign a MoU between the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT) on Supervisory cooperation. In this regard, SBP will share a draft MoU through diplomatic channels within three months.

iii.            Tajik side was apprised that their request for accession to Quadrilateral Agreement for Traffic-in-Transit (among Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan), given to Pakistan being the Depository of Quadrilateral Agreement, is under consideration.

iv.            Tajikistan appreciated the initiative of Pakistan to organize a truck caravan under the framework of Quadrilateral Agreement and has agreed to participate in this project.

v.            Bilateral Transport Agreement will also be discussed during the first meeting of Joint Working Group on Trade, Investment and Transport, scheduled in October 2016 at Dushanbe.

vi.            The sides noted with satisfaction the progress made so far in realization of CASA-1000 project and also expressed the resolve to initiate the physical work on the project as early as possible to achieve the desired delivery of energy.

vii.            The Parties also noted the mutual interest for export of additional 1000 MW by Tajikistan to Pakistan outside CASA-1000 Project. The Parties have notified the technical committee members and the first meeting of the committee is proposed to be held as early as possible. The committee will review the previous reports prepared by Tajikistan side and will develop a road map for future activities.

viii.            Both sides agreed to establish joint ventures with “Oil and Gas Development Company Limited” (OGDCL) and “Pakistan Petroleum Limited” (PPL) on detection and processing of oil and gas in the Republic of Tajikistan on Government to Government basis.

ix.               The Tajikistan side showed interest to establish joint ventures with Pakistan investors in the field of processing of ginned cotton, wool and leather finished products (cotton fabric, sewn and knitted products, leather jackets, bags and shoes).

x.               In order to effectively collaborate in the field of agriculture a Joint Working Group (JWG) will be formed. Both sides agreed to share the composition of members of JWG through diplomatic channels.

xi.            The two sides agreed to the renewal of Agreement between Pakistan and Tajikistan on Scientific and Technological Cooperation signed in 1992 through exchange of diplomatic notes.

xii.               Both sides decided to appoint Focal points to combat the menace of drug and narcotics trafficking.

5.     The meeting was characterised by a spirit of friendship, cooperation and a desire to make rapid advances in the above mentioned sectors/areas.

MEETING WITH MINISTER COMMERCE

Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that Pakistan wants to conclude bilateral arrangements of transit trade and Preferential Trade Agreement with Tajikistan this year in order to generate massive trade and investment activity between Pakistan and Central Asian states. The Minister made these remarks in a meeting with the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Tajikistan Mr. Usmonzoda Usmonali Yunusali in Islamabad.

Ministry of Commerce has provided the Tajik trade authorities with the draft of the proposed PTA on which further negotiations will take place. Mr. Dastgir said that Pakistan wants to enter into a larger trade facilitation framework with the Central Asian states to alleviate the unwanted restrictions which bar trade and investment to flourish freely.

He said that the CASA-1000 project will provide the basis to convert that transmission zone into energy corridor where energy grids can flow both ways.

The Tajik Minister said that the energy and road projects are extremely vital for the Tajik economy and the Tajik Government is pursuing them aggressively. He said that upon successful completion of the CASA-1000 project the two counties may explore the possibility of another relatively smaller electricity line through Wakhan corridor of Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Mr. Yunusali hinted at imported oil form Middle East and refining it in Pakistan before taking it up North to Tajikistan through a pipeline. This would diversify the energy procurement options of Tajikistan in future, he added. He was of the view that through the transit of energy Pakistan will benefit greatly through the transit fee.

Tajik Minister conveyed the good wishes of his leadership and expressed their desire to convert the warm political relations into solid economic foundation.

Pakistan’s exports to Tajikistan have risen from US$ 6.89 million in 2012-13 to US$ 7.42 million in 2014-15 while imports decreased from US$ 0.44 million to US$ 0.068 million during the same period.

Pakistan’s major exports to Tajikistan include sugar, dairy products, medical and pharmaceutical products, construction material including cement, rice, handicrafts and meat while major imports include machinery and its parts, chemical material and products, dyeing, tanning and coloring material.

Tajikistan is the first country in Central Asia to run direct flights to Pakistan thus making bilateral trade and people-to people contact ever easier.

MEETING WITH MINISTER PETROLEUM

Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mr. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met his Tajik counterpart Mr. Usmanoli Uzmonzada here in Islamabad.

Both the Ministers discussed issues of mutual interest and vowed for increased cooperation in the field of energy in future.

The Meeting was also attended by Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Jam Kamal Khan; Federal Secretary for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mr. Arshad Mirza; Tajikistan Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Jananov Sherali and senior officials of the Ministry.