DUSHANBE, March 10, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- On Wednesday March 9, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon visited Karachi as part of his state visit to Pakistan to discus  various options aimed at boosting the existing level of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries.

In Karachi, President Rahmon attended the Tajikistan-Business Forum that was organized by the members of trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP), Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and their counterparts in Tajikistan.

Addressing the forum, Tajik leader expressed satisfaction with the level of Tajikistan-Pakistan relations based on 30 bilateral documents and called on representatives of the business communities of both countries to expand cooperation, Tajik presidential press service reports.

Pakistan Today reports that Pakistan would establish a cement plant in Tajikistan to enhance bilateral trade of the construction sector.  Tajikistan would appreciate the fresh investment plan of Pakistan in the cement importing country, said the visiting Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on Wednesday.

According to Pakistan Today , the Tajik president, while addressing the forum, said that one of the important project of the region ‘CASA-1000 power’ was going through the feasibility study, which would complete by May 1, 2011.  Under the important project – over 1,100 kilometers of electricity transmission line would be laid from Kyrgyzstan to Pakistan via Tajikistan and Afghanistan with the help of the World Bank.

Having the 60 percent hydropower capacity in the Central Asian region, establishment of hydropower projects like CASA 1000 would not only meet power demands of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  He further said that Dushanbe would export electricity to Afghanistan by next year.

He said that both the countries were determined to cooperate in infrastructure development projects, hydropower plants and joint ventures.  He stated that Tajikistan has exempted all taxes over the investment of hydro-power projects for 2-5 years.

Since diplomatic relations between the countries started in 1992, trade relations between were getting deep rooted and almost a 20 percent hike was observed in the bilateral trade in 2009 compared to statistics in 2007, he said.

Though, after the visit of President Asif Ali Zardari to Dushanbe, a new chapter of relationship opened between the two countries, the pace of enhancement in trade is still unsatisfactory, President Rahmon added.  He said that such meetings, negotiations and forum would help boost bilateral trade.

Talking about investment opportunities in Tajikistan, President Rahmon said that Tajikistan, which, according to a report of World Bank, has been ranked the “10th investment friendly country of the world”, was enjoying almost $4 billion worth investment from both China and European countries in hydro power and mining sectors. Inviting Pakistani businessmen to his country, President Rahmon said that Dushanbe was planning to organize two important events this year – one of which was the forthcoming Navrouz celebrations on March 21, while another one was 20th Anniversary of Tajikistan’s Independence in September 2011.

He informed participants that fruitful discussions have also been made with President Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani about the ‘trilateral transit trade agreement’ between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan to facilitate Tajik trade from Pakistani seaports.

Earlier, Tajik Minister for Economic Development and Trade Farrukh Hamraliyev said that external trade and currency operations in Tajikistan have been liberalized, while small and medium business enterprises were fully privatized, Pakistan Today said.  He said that the estimated hydro potential of Tajikistan was 527 billion KW per annum – out of which less than six percent of this capacity was currently being used.

The Deputy Chairman of the State Committee on Investment and State-owned Property Management of Tajikistan, Eshonqulov said that there was a great scope of foreign investment in hydro-resources, mineral wealth of gold and silver deposits, processing of agriculture, wool and leather, cotton farming, vegetable farming and cattle breeding, Pakistan Today noted.

In a welcoming address Chief Executive of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Tariq Iqbal Puri said that friendship and partnership between the two countries would reach new heights through increased cooperation in diverse fields, including trade and economy, infrastructure, communication, energy, agriculture and health sectors. He said that TDAP would soon visit Tajikistan with a big business delegation and would look into options to open marketing office there, besides, participating in an exhibition.

Addressing participants which included representatives of almost 33 companies of Tajikistan, Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Saleem Mandviwala said that Pakistan was planning to install the first cement plant in Dushanbe.  A Pakistani enterprise was planning to establish the cement plant as a joint venture project, he added.

Pakistani Ambassador to Tajikistan Khalid Usman Qaiser said that cement exports to Tajikistan increased and Pakistan exported almost 4000 tons last year despite bearing customs duties of Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Mujeeb Ahmed Shikh of WTO Cell of TDAP said that trade volume, between the two countries, was no more than $35 million – which was very low.  However, the trade figure was also not complete as unregistered trade through Afghan border was not being counted.  Later, the B to B meeting between representatives of 33 Tajik companies and their counterparts in Pakistan were held.