21.03.2017

Tatarstan and Pakistan: Islamic cooperation

On March 18 and 19, the delegation of the Republic of Tatarstan headed by the President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov paid a working visit to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The delegation of Tatarstan included the CEO of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency Taliya Minullina, Board Chairman of Tatarstan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shamil Ageyev, as well as management representatives of PJSC "AK BARS" Bank, "Tatneft" and "TAIF" companies.

In Lahore, a number of meetings was held with representatives of business community of Pakistan, where the development prospects for business cooperation in such spheres as textiles, banking, hotel industry, construction industry, Halal industry were discussed.

In the framework of the working visit, the President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov met with the leadership of the province of Punjab - the Governor of the province Rafique Rajwana, Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. Taliya Minullina also took part at the meeting.

Tatarstani-Pakistani business forum

During his working visit to Lahore (Pakistan), Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov took part in Tatarstani-Pakistani business forum.

At the forum, the Head of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency Taliya Minullina gave a detailed overview of economics, developed petrochemical industry, machine building complex of the Republic and agriculture of Tatarstan. She also provided the audience with information on the successful work of Tatarstan's industrial parks and special economic zones, stressing that for the second consecutive year the republic leaded in National rating on the investment climate in the Russian regions. Taliya Minullina focused her presentation on tourism development in Tatarstan, noting such famous historic places as Qol Sharif Mosque and the city of Bolghar.

"As for solving the task of increasing the volume of foreign trade turnover, we are interested in delivering KAMAZ trucks, helicopters, cargo and passenger vessels, petrochemical products, mineral fertilizers, oil and gas production equipment, gas turbine and gas pumping plants and compressors, refrigeration equipment, foodstuffs and agricultural goods, medical and pharmaceutical products to your country. A number of our enterprises solves the tasks of the defense complex,” Tatarstan's President Rustam Minnikhanov stressed.

According to him, cooperation in the spheres of culture, tourism, science and education are of great interest. "Kazan is one of the leading Russian scientific and educational centers. We will be glad to increase the number of Pakistani students in our universities. There are opportunities for establishing ties in the field of sports."

Textile industry

Also, the meeting was held with senior managers of the All Pakistani Textile Mills Association.  The Chairman of the Association Aamir Fayyaz Sheikh informed briefly about the current state of Pakistan's textile industry. Thus, there are about 400 factories producing yarn, painted fabrics and various elements of clothing in the country. These products make 60 per cent of Pakistan's exports. 

Aamir Fayyaz Sheikh said that Pakistani textile had already been delivered to the Russian market, but in small quantities. "We are interested in increasing imports both to Tatarstan and other regions of Russia," - he said. 

The Pakistani Association, in turn,  was requested to consider not only the option for delivery of finished goods, but also the possibility of localizing their facilities for production of textiles and  light industrial goods in Tatarstan.

"This sector is of huge potential. Having the status of a Russian manufacturer, you will be able to respond quickly to market demands,” - Taliya Minullina noted.   

After that, the meeting with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Lahore was held. The organization brings together the representatives of business of the city of Lahore and Punjab Province. The parties discussed further steps to support joint business contacts. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry plays a key role in the development of interregional business cooperation. The President of Tatarstan gave Tatarstan Investment Development Agency an errand to work out a plan of events, including various exhibitions, exchange of business delegations, forums together with Pakistani colleagues.   

Halal industry

Then, the meeting with the Head of the Punjab Halal Development Agency was held. Participants of the meeting considered various options for cooperation in the field of halal products and prospects for implementing joint halal projects.

Taliya Minullina invited specialists to Kazan to participate in the International Economic Summit "Russia-Islamic World: "KazanSummit", as an event with special attention paid to the development of the Halal industry.

Tatarstani delegation also met senior managers of the Bank of Punjab where the issues of cooperation in the field of Islamic banking were discussed. 

High-level relations in high technologies

In the framework of the working program  the Arfa Software Technology Park (ASTP) was visited, where the guests from Tatarstan got acquainted with Pakistan's experience in development of high technology industry.

The Arfa Software Technology Park is one of the Pakistan's largest information technology centers. The complex was opened in 2012 and named after Arfa Karim, a girl who at the age of 9 became the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP).

The technology park aims at promoting information and communication technology, attracting foreign direct investments, developing human potential in IT sphere, increasing export of IT products.

Meeting in a quarter of a century

The second part of the visit of the Tatarstani delegation in Pakistan included visiting Islamabad, the capital of the Islamic Republic. The business program comprised the meetings at the highest level. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif himself hosted our delegation. At the meeting, questions of the work of the Group of Strategic Vision "Russia - Islamic World", participation of Pakistani delegation in the 9th International Economic Summit “Russia — Islamic World: KazanSummit 2017” on May 18-20, as well as possible sales of defence industry goods were discussed.

With great warmth, Mr. Sharif shared memories of his visit to Tatarstan in 1999.  That time, Rustam Minnikhanov in a position of Prime-Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan hosted the official delegation of Pakistan headed by Mr. Sharif. The host program in Tatarstan included visiting Kazan Helicopter Plant and PJS "KAMAZ".

Over the past years, the volume of external trade between Pakistan and Tatarstan has increased multiply. Tatarstan is supplying rubber, compounded rubber, ground transport, boilers, etc. to Pakistan. Tools and optical instruments, clothes and nickel products are imported to Kazan. Helicopters manufactured in Kazan have already been supplied to Pakistan, besides, the local company assembles "KAMAZ" vehicles at its production facilities. In 2015, the delegation of the Republic of Tatarstan took part in Russian-Pakistani Intergovernmental Commission in Islamabad.

Results

The visit resulted in signing of the memorandum on cooperation in five directions: agriculture and food, including Halal products, textiles, information technologies, engineering sphere, trade and investment.

An agreement has been reached on participation of Tatarstan in Halal exhibition in Pakistan, which will be held on 10 and 11 April, this year. A large delegation from Pakistan is expected to visit forum "Russia - Islamic world: KazanSummit 2017». In summer 2017, the delegation of Punjab province headed by the Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif will pay a reciprocal visit. Inter-ministerial preparations to pursue agreements are also under way.

For reference:

Pakistan (officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan) is a country in South Asia.  As a sovereign political organization, Pakistan emerged in 1947 as a result of division of the territory of British India. Pakistan is the sixth most populated country in the world, and the second largest Muslim-majority country after Indonesia. Pakistan is a member of the UNO, the Commonwealth of Nations, World Trade Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as the coalition of developing nations "Group of 77".

Pakistan is an industrial and agrarian country with a mixed economy. Agriculture continues to play an important role in the country's economy and constitutes 20,8% of the whole GNP, though the industry is developing rapidly and has already reached 24,3% of GNP. At the same time, 43% of working population are employed in agriculture and 20% work in industry.

Characterized by high dependence on weather conditions because of great influence on agriculture, textiles, hydropower, water transport.

In Pakistan, the spatial disparities in economy are distinctively different which is caused by combined effect of various factors. 4 historical and geographical regions are identified, which in territorial terms coincide with administrative provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the latter includes tribal areas. Punjab is dominant in agrarian production, it produces up to 2/3 of wheat, cotton and sugar cane.

In the 2000's, the economy of Pakistan showed a sustainable economic growth of about 7% a year.

The GDP growth in Pakistan amounted in 8,4% in fiscal year 2005. Two thirds of Pakistani export are textile production and garment industry. The main agrarian crops are cotton and wheat.

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