Islamabad, March 09, 2016 (PPI-OT):Pakistan and Belarus agreed to enhance bilateral economic cooperation in sectors including Commerce, Investment, Industry, Agriculture, Energy, Health and Pharmaceuticals, Education, Technology and other sectors of mutual interest. Both sides agreed that industrial cooperation between Pakistan and Belarus must aim at becoming strategic partners in the areas of value added export-oriented industries.
The second Session of the Pakistan-Belarus Joint Ministerial Commission was held on 8-9th March at Lahore which was jointly chaired by the Minister for Commerce of Pakistan, Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan and the Minister of Industry of the Republic of Belarus, Mr. Vitaly Vovk.
The meeting discussed the implementation of the Program “Road Map of Bilateral Cooperation between the Republic of Belarus and Islamic Republic of Pakistan in the Short and Medium Term”, signed last year and expressed their satisfaction over the progress of implementation of decisions.
In his meeting with the co-chair, the Mr. Dastagir shared details of fiscal incentives and liberal investment regime being offered at Special Economic Zones (SEZ) and the Export Processing Zones where Belarusian entrepreneurs can set up their production units. Belarusian side assured its full support on Pakistani request for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Eurasian Economic Union.
The two sides discussed the possibility of exporting Pakistani textile, fruits and vegetables, pharmaceuticals, sports goods and surgical equipment to Belarus as well as production of some products in Belarus on the basis of a Joint Venture. Belarus expressed its interest in exporting the heavy machinery, linen fabrics, bulky yarn, tyres, acrylic yarns, phthalic anhydride, wood and wood products to Pakistan.
A consensus was reached that removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers is essential for trade facilitation. The absence of banking channels was identified by Pakistani side as one of the biggest non-tariff barriers. The Commission underlined the importance of creating a viable banking mechanism for carrying out effective economic transactions. In order to establish direct banking links between the two countries a meeting of representatives of Central Banks will be held in the first half of 2016.
Both sides agreed to establish sub-group of the Joint Trade Committee to identify potential products for goods exchange operations and agree on quality and quantity for goods exchange operations. Belarus agreed to simplify visa procedures for Pakistani businessmen in order to enhance bilateral economic ties.
To further formalize the collaboration on customs an MOU will be signed between the State Customs Committee of the Republic of Belarus and the Customs Wing of FBR. In this regard, a delegation of Pakistani Custom will visit Belarus by May, 2016.
Pakistani side informed that the installation and commissioning work of assembly line for Belarusian tractors were completed in May, 2015 and after trial production, regular production has been started. Based on the results of producing the first Belarusian tractor, a procedure for the yearly localization plan is being carried out.
Belarus made a request for assistance in the search for companies in Pakistan to establish joint production of automotive engineering, agricultural harvesting machinery, road construction machinery, dump trucks. Consultations between aviation authorities of the two countries on providing Air Services and the possibilities of opening the direct flights between the Republic of Belarus and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan will be held at Minsk in April, 2016.
On the sidelines of the Session the Belarusian Co-chair also called on Malik Muhammad Rafique Rajwana Governor Punjab, Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Punjab and Mr. Sher Ali Khan Minister for Mines and Minerals Government of Punjab.
The sides agreed collaborate on training of Pakistani doctors and para-medical staff in higher medical educational institutions of Belarus, retraining and advanced training of medical and pharmaceutical personnel in various specialties and training of medical specialists in clinical residency. The two sides agreed to hold the third meeting of the Commission in September, 2016 in Brest, Belarus.
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