ANKARA, 15 October 2014: The Federal Minister for Commerce of Pakistan Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan is visiting Turkey to lead Pakistan delegation to the 15th session of Turkey-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission being held at Ankara from 15-16 October 2014.

The Joint Economic Commission (JEC), co-chaired by Pakistan’s Commerce Minister and Turkish Minister for Environment and Urbanization, commenced today. The JEC is discussing ways and means to further strengthen economic and commercial relations between the two brotherly countries.

While speaking at the inaugural session of the two days moot, the Pakistani dignitary said Pakistan and Turkey are two brotherly democracies. He said both countries should work to diversify commercial ties so that true potential of commercial cooperation could be realized. Referring to JEC, he said it is an important platform to translate our common aspirations for a strategic economic and development partnership into tangible reality.  “To improve bilateral trade, we need to vigorously involve the private sector and strengthen cooperation between the chambers of commerce and industry of the two countries,” said Mr. Khurram Dastgir. He stressed on the need to motivate businessmen of the two countries for establishing long-term business partnerships. He also proposed to energize Pakistan-Turkey Business Council that will help boost bilateral cooperation between the private sectors.

Mr. Khurram Dastgir briefed the forum about the major economic gains Pakistan made since the present Government took office over a year ago. He said despite many challenges, Pakistan economy got reasonable strength which is reflected in the improved per capita income, growth in the industrial sector, exports and remittances. Through pursuing prudent economic policies, investor confidence in Pakistan’s economy has improved while Pakistani currency stabilized and the Karachi Stock Exchange witnessed impressive growth, he added. He said Pakistan welcomes more Turkish investment in the agro-based industry, energy, infrastructure, banking, and municipal services.

The inaugural session was followed by technical level talks between the senior officials of the two countries. The 15th session will conclude tomorrow.

Earlier, the Pakistani Minister for Commerce held meeting with Turkish Minister for Environment and Urbanization Mr. İdris Güllüce. He urged him to encourage leading Turkish firms to participate in the international tenders for large hydroelectric, coal fired and alternate energy projects on Build-Operate-Transfer basis. He said Pakistan will continue to seek Turkish assistance in major infrastructure projects including building 500,000 low cost housing units planned across the country. Mr. Khurram Dastgir also referred to Islamabad-Istanbul ECO container train and said this project holds the potential to revolutionalize connectivity between Pakistan, Turkey and beyond.

Mr. İdris Güllüce offered to share Turkish experience in urban regeneration, waste water treatment, climate change, land registry and mapping, housing and disaster management. He hoped that capacity of Pakistani institutions would be further improved through the ongoing capacity building projects undertaken by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) which he said will result in improved commercial relations.

Both the dignitaries agreed to further diversify their trade relations and encourage joint ventures. They had unanimity of views that concluding a comprehensive Preferential Trade Arrangement between the two countries holds the key to taking commercial relations to new heights. They however agreed that PTA should be negotiated on the basis of reciprocity.

President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry, senior officials from the Economic Affairs Division, Ministries of Finance, Commerce, Communication, Railways, Textile, Water & Power and Secretary Board of Investment, Ambassador of Pakistan in Turkey and Consul General Istanbul are participating in the JEC.

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