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Event Title: Senator Farooq H. Naek Presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs

Event Date: 2023-03-07

The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday reiterated that the new missions opened to rescue the country from dire political crisis will not be closed on austerity grounds. The committee on inquiring upon results of talks with the IMF, the secretary foreign ministry said that although this is the mandate of the finance ministry to comment on this, he said IMF negotiations are technical negotiations and the demands which are placed determines the fate of the negotiations he further remarked. The committee which met under the chairmanship of Senator Farooq H. Naek in Parliament House today deliberated on various agenda on steps being taken to improve the foreign policy and diplomatic relations. The committee discussed economic and trade ties with Russia and Western bloc. The committee also discussed the diplomatic, bilateral and trilateral initiatives to maximise Pakistan-Africa cooperation.

The committee was briefed that USA , EU and the UK are established export markets for Pakistan with a consistent trade surplus. According to the FBR report the committee was apprised that in the year 2022-22 US, EU and UK made a total aggregate of USD million 6,801.83, 8999.7 and 2173.5 exports and 3,719.14, 8,999.7 and 2173.5 imports respectively. These exports mainly includes apparel & Home textiles. Whereas major percentage of imports from EU and UK include machinery& electrical goods, chemicals iron and steel and from USA is pharma, surgical goods oil seeds mineral fuels and cotton.

The committee was apprised that Russia being a major regional market and trade partner exports to Russia fell down by 31.6 pc from 2020 to 2021-22. It was further informed that the Russian Banks were removed from SWIFT which resulted in difficulties faced by Pakistani exporters. In the year 2021-22 a total export of 124.4 USD million and imports 457.3 USD million took place.

The committee was apprised that an MoU between TCP and M/s Prodintorg Russia for import of wheat was signed on 8th June and the first vessel for 450,000 MT arrived at Gwadad Port on 1st March this year.

The committee was apprised that maximum measures are being taken to enhance trade with Russian federation including agreement on international road transport and intergovernmental commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation. Similarly agreement on cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs matters be steps taken on mutual assistance under the unified system of tariff preferences of the Eurasian Economic Union are being finalised.

The Secretary foreign ministry maintained that Pakistan and South Africa relations are marked by a dearth of high level interactions. It was apprises that the trade volume between Pakistan and Tanzania has reached USD 224 million during 2021-22. It was discussed that to increase the trade volume there a need to actively participate in each other trade exhibitions and also resolve trade disputes to build te confidence of Tanzanian business community to do business with Pakistan.

The committee also received a detail briefing on the reasons, meetings, agendas and implications of the visits of Mr Rafeal Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Pakistan. It was apprised that the visit has been useful in projecting Pakistan’s five decades of experience of safe and secure operations of civil nuclear power plants which follow the IAEA Standards and guidelines. Additionally the visit highlighted the growing cooperation between Pakistan and IAEA in peaceful use of nuclear technology and focused on Pakistan commitment to nuclear non proliferation.

It was also informed that no proposal has been submitted by the ministry of foreign affairs under PSDP for year 2023-24

Matter pertaining to issuance of Pakistani visas on bogus residential cards were discussed in camera.

Earlier the committee showed grave concerns on the absence of state ministry in the committee ever since its constitution.

The meeting was attended by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar, Muhammad Tahir Bizenjo, Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan and Senator Samina Mumtaz Zehri . Senior officials from the ministry of foreign affairs and other concerned departments were also in attendance.