Russian business delegation explores trade, investment possibilities

KARACHI: A business delegation from Russian Federation including representatives of world’s top three Russian companies engaged in gas, coal and railway sectors visited KCCI here on Monday to see trade and investment opportunities. The delegation also searched for Pakistani partners.

The Russian firms included in the delegation are known for gas exploration, generating power from gas, manufacture of gas turbines, coal development and railways.

The exchange of business information and interaction with private sector people here is aimed at enhancing bilateral trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Pakistan including initiation of joint ventures in diverse sectors.

The delegation is on visit to Karachi and Lahore for the next couple of days.

Headed by Consul General of Russian Federation in Karachi, Oleg N. Avdeev, the delegation includes Associate Patron of Pakistan Russia Business Forum, Alexey A. Strekalov, Deputy Commercial Director of M/s. Saturn Gas Turbines, Bllyk Igor, Deputy Head of Design and Development Department of M/s. RPM Group, Lialkov Aleksandr.

Prominent Pakistanis interacting with the delegation include Founder President of Pakistan Russian Business Forum Abdul Rauf Tabani, President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Aamir Abdullah Zaki, Senior Vice President Muffasar Atta Malik, Vice President Muhammad Idress, former president KCCI Majyd Aziz.

Consul General of Russian Federation in Karachi Oleg N. Avdeev said the people of both countries do not know much about each other. Thus, interaction must be enhanced by exchange of visits especially of the businessmen. This would play a vital role in augmenting bilateral trade.

He noted that today’s visit of Russian delegation would be the first step to have more ventures between the two countries.

He said besides railways Russia could cooperate and support Pakistan in power sector, gas exploration and conversion of gas into power generation, coal fields development meant for power generation, supply of machinery and equipment for power plants.

To a question regarding revival, modernisation and expansion of Pakistan Steel Mills by Russia, he very cautiously said it was under discussion but specific decision was awaited till Joint Ministerial Working Group’s meeting scheduled in November 2013 in Moscow.

To another query, he said there was no ban on the import of vegetable and fruits from Pakistan. However, he said, there were certain standards to meet before reaching the Russian market.

Associated Patron of Pakistan Russia Business Forum, Alexey Strekalov said this visit of Russian delegation would provide an opportunity of face to face meetings between the two potential business communities which might lead to starting new ventures for the good of both the nations.

He said Russian businessmen wanted partners in Pakistan.

The delegation noted that Pakistan has a lot of potential for trade and investment.

Deputy Commercial Director of M/s. Saturn Gas Turbines, Bllyk Igor said that most Russian companies were interested in development of coal based energy sector apart from solar energy besides development of gas fields and converting gas into power.

Deputy Head of Design and Development Department of M/s. RPM Group dealing with Railways sector, Lialkov Aleksandr said that his company was looking for the assembly of railway machinery in Pakistan as “we see a promising market here.”

President KCCI, Aamir Abdullah Zaki underlined the need for Russian assistance in gas exploration, development /strengthening of railways and power sector especially from coal, in heavy machinery, engineering and automobiles and other potential areas. He recalled the Russian contribution and cooperation in the shape of Pakistan Steel Mills.

He said the bilateral relations would further improve in future as Russian Government has shown interest in signing Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Strong bilateral trade and larger cooperation between Pakistan and Russia would bring prosperity and integrity to the region, he said.

He apprised about the vital role of KCCI in the socio-economic development of Pakistan and to promote trade and industry in Karachi and elsewhere.

Former President KCCI Majyd Aziz was of the view that visit of Russian President to Pakistan will open new avenues of bilateral relations.

Paradigm shift was required from trade of commodities to machinery and equipment, Majyd Aziz said.

President, Pakistan Russian Business Forum, Abdul Rauf Tabani said Russia was the largest oil producer after Saudi Arabia. It is a big market and centre of industrial raw materials.