Pakistan, Uzbekistan to begin trade negotiations

Pakistani commerce advisor Abdul Razak Dawood is set to arrive in Uzbekistan today to begin five days of negotiations on

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Photo: Telegraph.by

Pakistani commerce advisor Abdul Razak Dawood is set to arrive in Uzbekistan today to begin five days of negotiations on a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA).

Islamabad and Tashkent have long discussed establishing a “trade corridor”, especially as the volume of trade between the two countries has risen significantly in the last few years. In 2017, Uzbek exports to Pakistan—mostly agricultural products—amounted to under $10 million. In just three years, exports have risen to nearly $100 million.

A PTA would likely be a boon to both countries, especially landlocked Uzbekistan, which sees Pakistani ports as the cheapest route to send its exports to Gulf countries. Conversely, Pakistan’s lucrative textile industry—comprising approximately two-thirds of the country’s entire economy—would benefit from cheaper access to Uzbek cotton.

Expect negotiations to be facilitated by the deep historical, religious and cultural bonds between the two countries, in addition to already favourable investment conditions. From a security standpoint, in the medium- to long-term, stronger bilateral trade ties could also collaterally affect Pakistan’s already troubled relationship with India, as the former has historically relied on India for much of its cotton imports.

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