ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Yemen on Wednesday signed documents aimed at increasing cooperation in sectors of economy, trade, investment, oil, gas, agriculture and technical education.
The documents were signed at the 7th session of Pakistan-Yemen Joint Ministerial Commission held on January 7-8.
Minister for Industries and Production, Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi and Yemeni Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr Saadaldeen Ali Salim Talib, who led their respective delegations, signed the agreed minutes of the meetings.
During the two day sessions of the Commission, meetings were held between the experts of the two sides on a number of issues especially focusing on trade, finance and investment.
Similarly matters pertaining to deepening cooperation in education, vocational training, health and population, agriculture, fisheries and infrastructure development also came under discussion.
It was agreed that both sides will commence discussions on Preferential Trade Agreement and Free Trade Agreement with the objective of increasing bilateral trade volume, which at the most is even less than $150 million.
Another decision was establishment of Pakistan-Yemen Joint Business Council and to convene its first meeting during the first quarter of 2014.
A committee for exploring investment opportunities in both the countries was constituted in the session.
The issue of import of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) from Yemen was discussed. An agreement for the import of LNG from Yemen is likely to be signed during the proposed visit of Yemeni Minister for Oil and Minerals to Pakistan in January.
Both sides agreed to expedite conclusion of the Executive Program for Bilateral Cooperation in the fields of oil, gas and minerals between the two countries.
Yemeni side would also facilitate the import of Pakistani pharmaceutical products from Pakistan and resolve any difficulties in this regard through the forum of Joint Business Council (JBC).
Yemeni side also expressed interest to enhance private sector investment in the Aden Free Zone.
Pakistani side also handed over the draft of the Bilateral Investment Agreement (BIT) to the Yemeni side which would replace the Agreement on the Protection of Investment signed between the countries in 1999.
Pakistani officials assured of their cooperation to Yemeni delegation in areas of agriculture, plant protection, livestock and development of seeds, grains, vegetables and fruits that suits the Yemeni climate.
Pakistan also offered trainings at Forest Institute, Peshawar in the fields of forestry, range management, watershed management, wildlife management and wood technology.
Both sides agreed to expand cooperation in the fishery sector, noting that there was a vast coastline in both the countries.
Honory Consul General of Yemen in Pakistan Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig raised the issue of cutting time for issuance of visa to Yemeni businessmen, citing that Pakistani businessmen are getting visa in five days for visiting Yemen.
It was noted with satisfaction that Pakistani construction and consultancy companies were engaged in various infrastructure development projects in Yemen.
Pakistani side requested for Yemen’s consideration for including Frontier Works Organization (FWO) and National Engineering Service for various infrastructure projects being funded by friendly countries like China, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.
Yemeni side appreciated the offer of training in the Postal Services under Technical Assistance Programme.
However, they requested to increase the number of seats to three for training in the Postal Services. Pakistani side would respond to the request in the coming weeks.
Besides these decisions, progress on a number of pending memorandum of understandings, agreements and executive programmes was also reviewed and it was decided to speed up the pace of internal procedures required for signing bilateral documents.