KARACHI - Pakistan Steel Mills was a good example of past cooperation between Pakistan and Russia; similar cooperation can be extended in many areas, particularly in energy as Russian is number one in energy sector.

Andrey V. Demidov, Consul General of Russian Federation endorsed these views during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

He said good prospects for Pak-Russia Preferential Trade Agreement do exist and Russian mission can prepare feasibility study on PTA as deliberations are required on certain legalities. He informed about the huge demand of textiles and leather garments in Russia and added that Pakistan can also export potato, rice, vegetables and fruits.

Andrey said Russia is manufacturing helicopters and commercial jets which can be provided to Pakistan. Pakistani natural pharmaceutical products have immense demand in Russia he said and added that multilateral cooperation in several areas among Pakistan, Russia and Central Asia Republics is also workable.

He stated that unavailability of direct shipping-lines, airlines and banking channel are major obstacles impeding bilateral trade. He was of the view that to execute transit trade from Gwadar port, adequate infrastructure, railways, highways and bridges are essential. Cooperation in education is continued and Pakistani students can also avail Russian scholarships programmes.

He said that in early 90’s PIA operated to Moscow and restoration of such direct air-connectivity is important. In past, PIA also used to stopover to Moscow while going to UK, while Russian Airline may stopover Islamabad or Karachi while going to UAE which can provide opportunity to visitors of both countries for interaction, he observed.

President KCCI Muhammad Haroon Agar while exchanging views with Consul General, emphasised to replicate cooperation on the lines of Pakistan Steel Mills in the areas of heavy machinery, engineering, automobiles, revamping railways, energy from coal, corporate farming, mining, health, education and other areas of national interest.

He also voiced to expedite arrangements of Preferential Trade Agreement between Pakistan and Russian Federation. He apprised about the vital role of KCCI in the socio-economic development of Pakistan and to promote trade and industry in Karachi and elsewhere.

Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz was of the view that visit of Russian President Putin to Pakistan will open new chapters of bilateral relations. He said that Russian investors can invest in Special Economic Zones and construct their own enclaves as President of Pakistan has signed Special Economic Zones Bill. Pakistan should avail the Russian expertise for producing energy from coal, he stated.