Home Latest News Shehbaz Sharif Wants Pak-Turk Bilateral Trade to Hit $5b

Shehbaz Sharif Wants Pak-Turk Bilateral Trade to Hit $5b

In official visit to Ankara, prime minister urges Turkish entrepreneurs to invest in Pakistan, stressing the government will facilitate them

by Staff Report

Photo courtesy Prime Minister’s Office

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday regretted that the “close ties” between Pakistan and Turkey are not reflected in their trade relations, and vowed to increase bilateral trade to $5 billion within the next three years.

Addressing a dinner hosted in his honor by Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) President Riffat Hisarciklioglu, he said the $1.1 billion in trade between Pakistan and Turkey was akin to nothing. “Let us resolve to take the two-way trade to $5 billion. Let us do it speedily as time and tide wait for none,” he added.

Currently in Ankara on a three-day official visit, Sharif stressed that Pakistan was ready to welcome all investors and urged Turkish entrepreneurs to invest in Pakistan without fearing the “maltreatment” they had allegedly suffered in the past four years under the ousted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government. “I guarantee you, visas will not be an issue. You should come there [to Pakistan] and get stamped [visa] at the airport,” he added.

Praising Turkey’s role in developing Pakistan’s infrastructure, the prime minister noted that the “first metro in Lahore was designed by Turkey.” Similarly, he said, Ankara provided solid waste management expertise to Pakistan for “peanuts” and trained police for free. “But in return what we have done to our Turkish brothers,” he said in criticism of the previous government’s foreign policy.

Separately, in an interview with Turkish news agency Anadolu ahead of his trip, Sharif thanked the country’s leadership for its principled support on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. “Both Pakistan and Turkey have a similarity of views on regional and international issues and enjoy close collaboration on bilateral, regional, and multilateral forums,” he said, adding that Pakistan was shifting from geo-strategy to geo-economics and was now looking to forge partnerships, especially within the South Asian region, based on connectivity, collective development, and prosperity.

On Pakistan’s ties with the U.S., the prime minister said both countries had a long-standing and broad-based relationship in various areas of mutual interest. “We wish to deepen and widen our engagement with the U.S., which remains Pakistan’s biggest export market and a major source of [foreign direct investment] and remittances,” he said.

To a question on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said the vision of connectivity and win-win cooperation at the heart of the project was in line with his government’s priorities, as well as the vision for Pakistan as a peaceful, prosperous region. He noted that Pakistan was incentivizing foreign investments in key industrial sectors, especially in CPEC Special Economic Zones.

According to the Foreign Office, the prime minister is slated to participate in a one-on-one meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, followed by delegation-level talks. A business delegation from Pakistan comprising representatives of leading companies across various sectors would also participate in the business engagements. The premier’s delegation during the trip includes Defense Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Minister for Investment Board Chaudhry Salik Hussain, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, and special assistants Tariq Fatemi and Fahd Hussain.

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