16 MoUs signed at business meeting

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ISLAMABAD: Sixteen Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed at the end of a three-day Central Asian Business Opportunities Conference here on Wednesday with participants making a commitment to revive the historic Silk Route.

Over 300 representatives of the private and public sectors from Central Asian Republics (CARs), Afghanistan and Pakistan attended the conference organised by the Ministry of Commerce, USAID and the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The USAID representative reiterated support for the Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline project. It was agreed to develop long-term and sustainable partnership in the fields of processed food, agriculture, textile, leather, pharmaceuticals and construction industries. The participants explored areas of investment and trade in respective countries. RCCI president Dr Shimail Daud said that MoUs would help the private sector in sharing information and developing long-term ties among countries attending the conference.

The meeting noted difficulties faced by businessmen and tourists and stressed the need for liberalising visa policies to promote people-to-people interaction and revive the Silk Route.

It also emphasised on acceding to international conventions, including the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods (TIR Convention 1975). Afghanistan and CARs have already acceded to TIR Convention. Pakistan was urged to accede to the convention to help promote traffic on CARs-Afghanistan-Pakistan route.

The RCCI insisted that air link between Pakistan and CARs would be the best feasible trade route for export and import of goods in minimum time.

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