Dunya Executive - - OVERVIEW -

Pakistan’s premier said at the start of a two-day visit to Turkey last week that it is time to boost trade volume between the two countries.

“I’ve brought my team with me because now’s the time to enhance the trade volume between Pakistan and Turkey,” Imran Khan told a working dinner organized by the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB) and Pakistan’s Embassy in Ankara. Khan’s first official visit to Turkey since taking office last August comes at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“I think this issue will be solved in the coming years because a huge development is taking place in Pakistan, namely the Chinese Belt Road [One Belt One Road] initiative,” he noted. He added that the project would allow Pakistan to forge connections with countries it has been unable to reach. The $64 billion project aims to connect northwest China to Pakistan’s southwestern Gwadar port through a network of roads, railways and pipelines to transport cargo, oil, and gas.

Noting Pakistan’s huge potential in many areas, he added the country boasts “huge mineral reserves” such as natural gas, copper, and cobalt but these areas have been neglected.

Touching on Pakistan’s strategic importance, he said: “We’re fixing our governance system. [The government is working to] make it easier for businesses to work, to ease doing business and the cost of doing business.”

Khan added that his government’s initiatives promise to make investments from Turkey “much easier” as well. “I want to assure you that this government’s aim is to make it easy for investors, make a lot of people make money and profits,” he added.

He said his country has one of the youngest populations in the world, with fully 120 million Pakistanis under 35. Also mentioning a project for building five million houses in the next five years, Khan invited construction companies to invest in his country.

“This is a huge initiative for Pakistan,” he added.

Touching on the historical ties between Turkey and Pakistan, he said: “When Turkey was fighting for its independence, people were collecting money to support the Turkish movement for independence.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Planning Minister, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, were among those accompanying Khan.

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