Silk Route Reconnect Policy: Pakistan &Uzbekistan signs agreement
by Kaswar Klasra
TASHKENT, July 17 (Gwadar Pro) - Pakistan on July 15th signed a historic Transit Trade Agreement with Uzbekistan which has ensured Pakistan’s access to the $90 billion market in Central Asia.
The agreement was signed by the Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood and the Deputy Prime Minister of Uzbekistan for Investment and Foreign Trade, Mr. Sardor Umurzakov, and the signing ceremony was witnessed by Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan.
Experts have termed the agreement a win-win situation for all including Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan as Pakistan will get access to the $90 billion worth Central Asian market, Afghanistan will earn a handsome amount from transit fees while Uzbekistan will gain access around the world through the deep-sea Gwadar port.
Officials in Pakistan told Gwadar Pro that the Transit Trade Agreement with Uzbekistan can help bring more Pakistani products to Central Asia. Currently, Uzbekistan is highly dependent on the Iranian seaport of Bandar Abbas, accessed through Turkmenistan.
The transit trade between Uzbekistan and Pakistan will take place along pre-determined routes and only involve specified ports and border crossings.
Uzbekistan and Pakistan are obligated to ensure that suitable infrastructure and personnel are available at border crossings and will provide separate spaces for off-dock terminals and warehousing, at entry/exit points and other customs notified places, on a reciprocal basis.
While each country remains responsible for licensing transport operators (e.g., trucking firms) registered in their territory, Uzbekistan and Pakistan would issue Road Transport Permits with which transport operators will be able to transport goods through the other country’s territory. This way, Uzbek trucks can carry goods via Pakistan to seaports rather than having to re-load them onto Pakistani trucks at the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and vice versa.
The Uzbek government shall recognise Pakistani driver’s licenses and vehicle registration documents, and vice versa.
The Uzbek and Pakistani governments shall expedite and simplify the process for awarding multiple-entry visas to truck drivers from each other. Except for selected perishable items, goods transiting through Uzbekistan and Pakistan shall be stored in sealed containers meeting international specifications.
The Uzbekistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Committee (UPTTCC), which will be established under AUPTT, would be responsible for monitoring and facilitating the implementation of the agreement.
AUPTT will put in place the legal framework to enhance connectivity between the two countries.