Pakistan, Belarus move towards open banking channels

FAISALABAD: 

In a bid to enhance the trade volume between Pakistan and Belarus up to $1 billion, central banks of both countries have already inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and now steps are being taken to open bank branches.

This was said by Belarus Ambassador Andrei Ermolovich, while addressing members of the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI).

He said that as per their instructions various institutions are working towards achieving this objective, adding that different areas have been identified to boost bilateral cooperation. He said that the banking system is the prerequisite to undertaking major bargains and in this connection a mutually acceptable banking system is being evolved with the active cooperation of central banks of Belarus and Pakistan.

Talking about the importance of trade delegations, the ambassador said the business community of Pakistan should actively participate in trade exhibitions and fairs being organised in Belarus. He said that Belarus was organising an agriculture and textile fair and invited Pakistani exporters to participate in the event.

Also speaking on the occasion, Belarus Chamber of Commerce and Industry representative Jurabek Kirgizbekov said that his country can help Pakistan in production of powdered milk, ice cream, yogurt, animal husbandry and canned products.

He said that Belarus is included in a five-country alliance, which had no well-marked boundaries.

He encouraged Pakistani exporters to establish their ware houses in Belarus, from where they could make exports to the surrounding countries without any additional customs duty or taxes.

Similarly, visa issued by one country is also acceptable in all the five countries. Hence, extra care has to be taken while issuing visas for Belarus, he added.

Kirgizbekov further said, “We are also considering starting direct flights between Pakistan and Belarus.”

FCCI President Mohammad Saeed Sheikh said that volume of bilateral trade between the two countries was around $63.6 million during 2016.

Pakistan made exports worth $13.28 million to Belarus, while imports from Belarus stood at $50.28 million during the same period. Thus, the balance of trade is in favour of Belarus, he added.

Mentioning the fourth Joint Trade and Business forum of Pakistan and Belarus in which many agreements and MoUs were inked, Sheikh said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is optimistic in view of these agreements that our bilateral trade will grow steadily up to $1 billion.

He asked the ambassador to facilitate FCCI trade delegation to Belarus for an extensive interaction with the business community of Belarus.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2017.

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