Uzbekistan is set to become the biggest trading partner of Pakistan from Central Asia as the bilateral trade between the two countries has improved from $36 million in 2017 to over $90 million in 2018.

This was said by Ambassador of Uzbekistan Furqat A. Sidikov, while addressing business community at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI)

He said that Uzbekistan has over $500 million bilateral trade with Afghanistan and with more serious efforts from both sides, Uzbekistan and Pakistan have the potential to increase the two-way trade volume up to $1 billion in next 5-6 years.

Furqat Sidikov said that Uzbekistan was interested in joint ventures with Pakistan in agricultural machinery, electronics, textiles and many other fields. He said Uzbekistan wanted a trilateral agreement of transit trade with Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to boost trade to higher levels.

Uzbekistan is also keen to build a railway link with Pakistan through Afghanistan that will make Pakistan an international hub of business activities, the ambassador said. Uzbekistan was desirous of signing a free trade agreement with Pakistan that could boost trade up to the real potential of both countries, he added.

Sidikov stressed that both countries should take full advantage of their geographical proximity for enhancing trade and economic relations. He said Pak-Uzbek Business Council was playing a facilitation role for the business community of both countries to improve trade and emphasized that Pakistani entrepreneurs should take benefit of this platform to promote trade relations with Uzbekistan.

Speaking at the occasion Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Ahmed Hassan Moughal said that Pakistan accorded great importance to its close relations with Uzbekistan. He said enhanced cooperation was highly beneficial for both countries as Uzbekistan could provide easy access to Pakistan to Central Asia, Europe and Russian markets while Pakistan could provide better access to Uzbekistan to reach South Asia, Middle East, Africa and other markets.

Pakistan could export many products to Uzbekistan including food products, textiles, pharmaceuticals, surgical and sports goods. Similarly, Uzbekistan could export oil and gas, minerals and other products Pakistan, he concluded.