FAISALABAD – Acting ambassador of Russian Federation Monday said that Russia was eagerly waiting for a formal invitation from China and Pakistan to invest in CPEC related projects. Vladirmir Berezyuk also said that a delegation of Russian businessmen will visit Pakistan very soon to explore new opportunities for investment.
Addressing the members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FCCI) here Monday, he mentioned the Russian cooperation in the development of Pak economy and told that Karachi Steel Mills and Gudhu Power Plant are examples of our mutual and highly productive cooperation.
He said that recently Pakistan and Russia inked an agreement to lay Karachi-Lahore pipeline which is expected to resolve multiple energy related problems of Pakistan. He said that this year Pakistan and a consortium of Russian Federation inked an agreement to establish an oil refinery at Kohat. “It will have capacity to refine hundred thousand barrels of oil per day”, he said and added that yet another agreement would also be signed to promote banking channels between the two countries.
He said that a delegation of Russian businessmen will also visit Pakistan which will open new avenues of direct cooperation between the businessmen of two countries. Expressing satisfaction over the promotion of bilateral trade between the two countries, Vladirmir Berezyuk said that it is growing at a much faster pace. During 2015-17, Russian exports recorded an increase of 96 percent while a phenomenal growth of 209 percent was recorded in Pakistani exports to Russian Federation. However, he stressed the need to diversify the trade to fully capitalize potentialities available in the two countries.
He also identified railways, communication, construction, refinery and other major sectors in which two countries could further expand their collaboration in the coming years. However, he said that after concerted efforts by the two governments, the businessmen of Pakistan and Russia should also play a proactive role to strengthen their mutual relations.
Responding to a question about the sale of T-17 tanks after the provision of M-35 helicopters, the Russian diplomat told that sale of arms and ammunition is indicative of close military cooperation between the two countries. However, further negotiations are imperative at the government’s level to materialize the sale of tanks and other arms.
About cooperation in education sector, he said that Moscow was ready to send a delegation to Pakistan to explore opportunities for bilateral exchange of students and faculty members of leading universities of the two countries. He also welcomed a proposal of FCCI to send a trade delegation and assured full cooperation in this regard. He also appreciated a proposal to declare Faisalabad twin city with leading textile cities of Russian Federation.
Earlier in his address of welcome, acting president FCCI Farooq Yusuf said that Pakistan and Russian Federation are enjoying good economic and diplomatic ties since 1948. He said that the trade volume between the two countries in 2016 was 402.78 million dollars. However, Pakistan exported goods worth 144.71 million dollars as against the imports of 258.01 million dollars from the Russian Federation. “Thus the balance of trade is in favor of Russia”, he added. Continuing, he said that the share of Pakistan exports is very small as against the total Russian imports of 182 billion Dollars. He said that Russian Federation, being a growing economy and associate of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), can play its role in the development of Pakistan economy.
He further said that there are vast prospects of expansion of bilateral trade including joint ventures in textiles, agro-based industry, live stock industry, leather goods, oil and gas exploration, information technology and tourism. He said that being the 5th largest wheat, rice, cotton, milk and onion producing country Pakistan has ample potential to promote bilateral trade relations with Russian Federation for the promotion of economies of both the countries. He also underlined the need of creating linkage between Moscow Chamber of Trade & Commerce and FCCI to promote businessmen to businessmen relations between the two countries.
He said that Faisalabad has emerged on the map of air travel as seven airlines have started direct flights to various international destinations across the globe. Farooq Yousuf also stressed the need to sign free trade agreement between the two countries, which may prove one of the best ways to enhance volume of bilateral trade.
A question answer session was also held which was participated by Usman Rauf, vice president FCCI, Shahid Hasan, coordinator Russian Embassy delegation, Engineer Ahmad Hasan, Mirza Tauseef Ahmad, Engineer Suhail Bin Rasheed and secretary general FCCI Abid Masood.
Later, Inam Afzal Khan offered vote of thanks while acting president FCCI Farooq Yusuf presented FCCI shield to Vladirmir Berezyuk, acting ambassador of the Russian Federation.
The Russian ambassador also reciprocated and presented a gift to Farooq Yusuf while Mirza Tauseef Ahmad presented FCCI shield to Vadim Zaetcov, visa officer of the Russian Federation.