SIALKOT - Russia announcing developing business-to-business (B2B) contact for establishing strong trade relations with Pakistan, saying that strong "B2B" contacts could help lift trade ties between the two friendly countries to new heights.

Mr Vladimir Berezyuk, Deputy Chief of Mission in Russian Embassy in Pakistan, stated while addressing an important meeting of Sialkot exporters held at Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) here on Tuesday.  Acting SCCI President Waqas Akram Awan presided over the meeting.

The Russian envoy said that his country wants strong trade relations with Pakistan as Moscow considers Islamabad as a very important trade partner. He also assured support and cooperation for easy access of Sialkot-Pakistan made products to Russian markets.

Vladimir Berezyuk stressed the need for the promotion of strong mutual trade relations between Pakistan and Russia, saying that his country wants developing strong mutual trade relations. The Russian envoy discussed in details with Sialkot exporters matters of mutual interest including growing mutual trade opportunities in Russia and scope for joint ventures in different sectors between Russia and Pakistan.

He emphasised that the time is ripe strengthen trade activities between the two countries, adding that enhanced private sector interaction and mutual collaboration are crucial for the promotion the bilateral trade between Pakistan and Russia.

Mr Vladimir Berezyuk also pledged to play his role in motivating Russian business community to import Sialkot-made sports goods and surgical instruments direct from Sialkot-Pakistan instead of purchasing these products from different European countries on comparatively higher prices.

Addressing the meeting, SCCI Acting President Waqas Akram Awan said that relationship between Russia and Pakistan are based on solid foundations.

"Indeed, Moscow and Islamabad have common interests including regional security and stability, which can be further deepened through increased trade," he pointed out.

He suggested that both Pakistan and Russia should build relationship on an economic footing, stressing drastic steps to increase bilateral trade.

He informed that currently, mutual trade volume between Pakistan and Russia stands around $500 million, which does not reflect the true potential of both the countries.

Waqas Akram Awan asserted that access to Made in Pakistan products like Leather Goods, Surgical Instruments, Work Wear & Gloves, and Sports Goods and Apparel to Russia should be ensured as Pakistan is known for having excellence in terms of quality in these products.

He mentioned that a significant amount of these commodities are being imported into Russia through other countries. "Direct trade will result in saving delivery times and controlling costs," he argued.

The SCCI acting president pointed out that mutual trade can be increased without the presence of an effective banking channel through which transactions could take place. He said that both Pakistan and Russia should expedite the process of Banking and Payment Arrangement (BPA) between Russia's Central Bank and the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to provide a mutual trade settlement mechanism for promotion of trade between the two countries.

He said that both sides should develop greater economic linkages having great potential in fields of trade, energy and infrastructure development.  "For Russia and Pakistan have potential to provide market for defence supplies and investment in energy and infrastructure sectors," he added.

Earlier, the Russian envoy visited several leading industrial units in Sialkot. He witnessed different processes of production of sports goods and surgical instruments manufacturing there.