Senior Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Turkish Minister for Environment and Urbanisation Erdogan Bayraktar co-chaired the 14th session of Pak-Turkey Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in Islamabad on Monday.
The both minister agreed that current volume of trade and investment is far below than the potential, both countries have. Both countries are enjoying brotherly relation and it is high time to utilise this potential in the key areas of trade and investment, remarked by both ministers.
Various proposals to enhance bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade and commerce, energy, banking and finance, railways and communication, culture and tourism, education and other like agriculture, health, science & technology and environment were presented in the meeting. The commission also reviewed the implementation status of decisions that were taken during 13th Pak-Turkey JMC.
The six joint working groups that were constituted in pursuance of decision of the first meeting of High Level Cooperation Council held in Ankara on 6-9 December, 2010 presented their relevant agenda in the meeting. Banking and Finance working group informed that many Turkish banks are interested to open their branches in Karachi , Lahore and Islamabad, in which one Turkish bank will start operation in Pakistan very soon. Cultural Cooperation working group informed that year 2013-14 will be celebrated as Pak-Turkish Cultural Year. In the same way, Energy Working Group highlighted that Turkey has showed internets to provide technical and financial assistance for establishment of small hydro power in Punjab and construction of Transmission lines. Turkey will also help for formulation of regulatory framework and safety codes for coal based power generation. Moreover, one Turkish company will start business in Petroleum sector in Pakistan very soon. Fourteen projects in power sector have been identified by energy working group to explore the possibilities of cooperation from Turkish side. Turkey will also provide technical assistance in the field of geothermal energy resources and remote sensing.
Communication and Railways working group highlighted the potential areas of land roads, maritime communication and railways. A meeting is scheduled to be held on 25th June, 2012 for the finalisation of Pak-Turkey road sector cooperation. Turkey also showed interest in Vessel Tracking System and Ship Repair & Building in Pakistan. Moreover, it was agreed that the existing public sector railway programme between Turkey and Pakistan will be shifted to private sector for its reinitiating.
Trade and Commerce working group informed JMC that Preferential Trade Agreement will be further explored. Trade will be diversified and investment will be improved by the both countries. A public awareness programme will be scheduled to accomplish currency swap system between Turkey and Pakistan, mentioned by Trade and Commerce working group.
The JMC will also finalise the MoUs/ agreements in the field of solid waste management, archives, investment, urbanisation, transport & communication and renewable energy to be sighed in the High Level Cooperation Council meeting to be held on May 22, 2012 under the leadership of Prime Ministers of both countries.
Later, senior Commerce Minister discussed various specified matters regarding trade and economy with Turkish Minister for Economy Zafer Caglyan in another meeting in Islamabad today. The both Minister reiterated that Pakistan and Turkey are like twin brothers and it is time to enhance trade volume form millions to trillions. The Turkish minister pointed the key concerns of Turkey regarding high taxes, custom duties and matters relating to port and shipping. He also highlighted the investment interest of different Turkish companies for Pakistan and their related requirements. The Senior Minister assured to address the said concerns and stressed on the early operationalisation of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA). The Ambassador of Pakistan in Turkey was also present in the meeting, pointed the need to explore new ways and means for finding the comparative advantage by both countries.