By connecting Karachi and St. Petersburg through shipping, a milestone has been crossed in Pakistan-Russia trade cooperation.
MV ‘Crystal Saint Petersburg’ cargo ship of Russian private company arrived at Karachi port on Thursday carrying cargo from China. On this occasion, a ceremony was organized in a local hotel, in which several ministers, diplomats from Iran, Indonesia, Oman and other countries and prominent businessmen participated.
As a result of this game changer initiative, direct import and export of goods from both countries is now possible. At the same time, there will be more opportunities for businessmen to increase B2G and B2B business.
The former Ambassador of Pakistan to Russia, Qazi Khalilullah termed the arrival of the Niko Line ship as a memorable moment and said that the beginning of maritime trade is historic in the relations between the two countries.
Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Mossadegh Malik said that those who claimed that Shahbaz government is not interested in trade with Russia will see in a few days that petroleum products from Russia will also be brought to Pakistan. Not only this, the detractors of the government should be patient, investment of ten billion dollars in the refinery sector will also happen soon.
Federal Minister for Energy Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Pakistan wants to sign a comprehensive free trade agreement with Russia so that tariffs can be reduced, investment and bilateral trade can be increased to 20 billion dollars annually.
Diplomatic, defense and economic relations between Pakistan and Russia have improved relatively rapidly in the last decade. Russia has recently supplied large quantities of wheat to Pakistan. Last year alone, the amount of wheat imported was more than one million tons.
Exports from Pakistan to Russia include rice, fruits, vegetables, confectionery, sports equipment, leather products, textiles, surgical instruments and medicines.
The volume of trade between the two countries was 790 million dollars in 2020, which increased to 821 million dollars in 2021. It is expected that this will increase manifold with the recent move.
Before the direct trade, the shipping routes of various countries including India, Emirates, Malaysia, and Turkey were used to transport goods between the two countries. It used to take 60 days to transport goods from these countries, which has now reduced to 19 days.
In this way, giving Pakistani traders direct access to the Russian market will not only reduce the cost of transportation of goods, but also give traders an opportunity to sell their goods at a better price.
A major benefit of direct trade will also be that the defense cooperation between the two countries will also touch new horizons as now the transportation of defense equipment will also become easier. Bringing defense equipment through a third country raises the possibility that that country will also become aware of the nature of the equipment.
This step to promote bilateral trade has been taken on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Pakistan-Russia relations. The relations between the two countries were established on May 1, 1948. There were many ups and downs, but these relations not only remained, but now once again there are signs of improvement.
Speaking at the ceremony, CEO of Pak Shaheen Group Abdullah Farrukh said that currently only Pakistani goods will be exported to stabilize the country’s economy, however, this effort made in collaboration with Russia and a Pakistani company will continue to deliver goods to Pakistan. will turn into the regional center of In this way, Karachi will emerge as a major trade market like Dubai in the future.
He said that the Russian ship MV ‘Crystal’ brought goods from China to Karachi. On Sunday, another ship from Russia will also come to Karachi, which will leave for Russia with these goods.
Addressing the participants, Consul General of Russia in Karachi Andrey Viktorovich Fedorov said that he appreciates how much Pakistani people are interested in Russia and how much they respect President Vladimir Putin. There is closeness in the thinking of the two countries on many issues in the global agenda and this has become a means of bringing each other closer.
Consul General said that Russia wants to establish a fair democratic multipolar world order together with Pakistan. Without naming any country, the Russian diplomat said Moscow “respects the cultural and civilizational diversity of people and the right of people to choose their own paths of political, social and economic development.” ‘
Referring to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s principles of faith, unity and order, the Consul General said that Russia’s vision of world order is also in line with the same edicts of the founder of Pakistan.
The Consul General said that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a key global partner for Russia in dealing with security threats, crimes and terrorism.
He said that in the context of the severe crisis in world politics, Russia has adopted a new view of foreign policy. “In order to end the unjust hegemony of the West, Russia is supporting on a priority basis to increase regional coordination among friendly nations.”
Referring to Russia’s new foreign policy towards Pakistan, the Consul General said that Moscow wants to expand cooperation with Pakistan as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
At a time when Pakistan is struggling to get more money from the IMF, taking steps to increase trade ties with Russia makes sense to economists.