Pakistan's premier eyes $5B trade volume with Türkiye

Visiting Shehbaz Sharif says current level of $1.1B trade between 2 countries insufficient.

Pakistan's premier eyes $5B trade volume with Türkiye

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said trade volume with Türkiye is "insufficient" considering the fraternal relationship between the two countries, eyeing a $5 billion trade volume within three years.

Paying a 3-day official visit to Türkiye at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Sharif spoke at the Türkiye-Pakistan Business Forum in Ankara.

"When this happens, I am the happiest person. I will be. We have everything necessary to reach that level," he noted.

Pointing out that Türkiye is a country that has the world's leading contractors, he praised the Turkish construction sector saying the country has been conducting several infrastructure projects around the world, especially in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Hinting at the current $1.1 billion trade volume between the two countries, Shehbaz Sharif said: “Unfortunately, the brotherly relationship between Türkiye and Pakistan does not reflect adequately on commercial relations.”

Businesspeople from both countries are determined to increase trade and investments, he underlined.

“Economic barriers and obstacles between the two countries should be allowed to be overcome. Whatever is necessary should be done in this regard,” he said.

He also invited Turkish businesspeople to his country, saying: "We have learned from the mistakes we made in the past. I do not make any political accusations. We will roll out the red carpet in our country, we will serve you Turkish coffee."

Trade level up 22.5%

Also speaking at the forum, Türkiye's Trade Minister Mehmet Mus noted trade with Pakistan increased by 22.5% in 2021 compared to the previous year despite the pandemic's negative fallout on economies.

"When we look at the first four months of this year, there is an increase of approximately 7% compared to the same period last year. This is pleasing, but we are far behind the level," he underlined.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB), Rifat Hisarcıklıoglu, said the visa application procedure is a serious obstacle to trade between the two countries.

"At least, we need to save the business world from this visa problem," he noted.

Largest single-item export deal in history

In 2018, the sale of military ships to Pakistan went down in history as the largest single-item export deal in the history of the Turkish defense industry.

The value of the deal is $1 billion. Soon after, another agreement of greater value was inked, which was the sale of 30 ATAK helicopters to Pakistan, this time with a volume of $1.5 billion.

These are the deals that actually showed how much the defense cooperation between the two countries has improved, especially in the field of aviation and navy.

During his visit, the Pakistani premier will also meet leading Turkish companies in various fields, including energy, infrastructure, e-commerce, municipal agro-based industry, and IT sectors as well.

Hüseyin Demir