Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) President Mian Usman Zulfiqar said on Sunday that business community wished to maintain positive momentum in bilateral trade relations with Russia. He told the media here that bilateral trade between Pak-Russia had always been in favour of Russia. Bilateral trade reached all-time high in year 2020 with US $758m trade volume. Pakistan’s major exports to Russia consisted of textile and textile articles (HS-50-63) which accounted for 40 per cent of Pakistan’s total exports to Russia in 2020. He observed that Russian market presents an opportunity to Pakistan to increase its exports but access was hampered by factors including those relating to banking and payment channels, a strict Russian business visa regime, the absence of direct cargo and passenger flights, very long transit shipment routes, increased freight charges in recent months, language barriers, and absence of an International Road Transport (TIR) agreement etc. For Pakistan, the PBF President said, there existed an export potential of around US $2.8bin Russia mainly driven by the textiles (US $1.6 b), agricultural products (US $330m), surgical items (US $356m), chemical and allied products (US $178m), footwear (US $82m) and plastic products (US $62m). Despite that Pakistan possessed a significant export potential in meat and seafood sector. However, in the last 10 years, Pakistan had not exported either of these products to Russia. Products that could help Pakistan penetrate into the Russian market included frozen seafood such as shrimps, prawns, fish, fresh/chilled bovine cuts, cuttle fish & squid, and guts, bladders and stomachs. Pakistan should also push for signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) that would help enhance Pak-Russia trade, he said. Analysis of agricultural products revealed that Pakistan’s exports of fruit are mainly concentrated around citrus fruit, especially kinnow. Pakistan is the 2nd largest import sourcing market for Russia for kinnow having a share of 11 per cent in Russia’s total kinnow imports from the world. Potato is another product in which Pakistan has a lot of potential and this product can be included in a potential FTA/PTA. Pakistan is the 4th largest potato import sourcing market for Russia in 2020 having a share of 3.6 per cent in Russia’s total potato imports from the world. However, for Pakistan to be able to access the Russian market, Pakistan needs to adopt various value-addition techniques, Mian Usman Zulfiqar suggested. The current high sea freight charges and the monopoly of a few of freight forwarders increased the cost of Pakistani products in the Russian market, he said and asserted that to overcome the challenge, Pakistan needs to support large logistics companies & freight forwarders and Pakistan National Shipping Corporation (PNSC) should consider acquiring containerized ships on wet lease (rent) to facilitate exporters and starta meaningful dialogue with Putin administration in the preview of mutual economic growth.