A delegation of Pakistani entrepreneurs doing business in Moscow visited Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry and said that Russian was a huge market for Pakistani exports and business community of Pakistan should capitalize on this untapped market for promoting exports.

Noor Habib Shah Chairman Pakistan Community Russia, Dr Shahid Hasan, Shahid Ghuman and others were in the delegation.

The delegates said that except for oil and gas, Russia was meeting over 95 per cent needs of its people through imports and Pakistan has great potential to export many products to Russia including food products, textiles, surgical instruments, pharmaceuticals, leather products, sports goods and others.

They said that many Pakistani products were reaching the Russian market through Europe and the USA at a higher cost while direct trade between Pakistan and Russia would yield much better results for both countries.

The delegation members said that 12-15 companies from Sialkot have opened their offices in Moscow and stressed that more should come as doing business was quite easy in Russia. They said that Pakistan was mostly focusing on EU and West for exports, but added that it could make a significant increase in its exports by paying more attention to Russia.

They said there were 16000 wholesale stores in Moscow that offered great scope for Pakistani products. They said that ICCI should form a delegation for Moscow to see the business potential in the Russian market and assured that they would extend full cooperation in arranging B2B meetings of ICCI delegation with right partners in Russia.

Speaking at the occasion, Ahmed Hassan Moughal, President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Government of Pakistan should cooperate with the private sector in opening warehouses in Moscow and other major Russian cities that would help in introducing Pakistani products in the Russian market.

He said Pakistan and Russia should focus on opening bank branches on reciprocal basis, which was necessary to promote bilateral trade between the two countries. He assured that ICCI would consider taking a delegation to Moscow to explore the Russian market.

Rafat Farid Senior Vice President and Iftikhar Anwar Sethi Vice President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry said that Pakistan and Russia should encourage frequent exchange of trade delegations to explore all potential areas of mutual cooperation.

They said that initially 9 Special Economic Zones would be built in Pakistan under CPEC and urged that Russian investors should be persuaded to explore Pakistan for JVs and investment in CPEC and in other sectors of our economy.