The President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik Sunday hails government’s decision to import crude oil from Russia in currencies of friendly countries as mutually agreed by the two countries. Talking to a delegation of industrialists and traders led by Muslim Khan Buneri here, he said it’s a good omen that Pakistan will pay in the currencies of friendly countries which he added will definitely ease dollars pressure on either side and help pave the way for further strengthening of existing economic cooperation and bilateral relations. He said agreements between both sides will pay dividends in the days to come. He appreciated that Islamabad wants to import 35% of its total crude oil requirement from Russia. He said Pakistan depends on oil from Gulf countries, mainly due to close political and friendly ties, which often extend facilities like deferred payments, and that route is cheaper logistically given proximity to the Strait of Hormuz. Iftikhar Ali Malik said earlier recent decision of the government was also a good one for direct settlement and clearing in RMB between China and Pakistan which will help balance greatly the possible trade fluctuations caused by changes in US dollars. He said moreover, RMB clearing can be fast tracked for two countries to further deepen industrial cooperation in financing and purchasing. He said the trade volume of Belt and Road countries reached 11.6 trillion Yuan last year. If RMB clearing and settlement is fully encouraged, trade efficiency in countries along the Belt and Road will improve, as will more extensive financial cooperation, he added. Quoting the “2022 RMB internationalisation” report, he said about 78.8% of the surveyed global industrial and commercial firms are thinking about adopting RMB or growing its [RMB] share in cross-border transactions. He said as inflation and the energy crisis in Europe and the United States have eroded market confidence and China’s economy is the same size as the EU,s, the RMB may become a future safe haven for investors. He said since 2006, annual trade between Pakistan and China has averaged 17.61 billion US dollars. He said the Bank of China and State Bank of Pakistan accord will support cross-border transactions.