Pakistan has finally decided to settle its decades old trade dispute with Russia, after Islamabad authorized its ambassador in Moscow to sign a deal with the country.
The trade dispute, which goes back to the days of Soviet era, involves $117 million and many unsuccessful efforts have been made in the past to end the dispute. According to a report in The Express Tribune, Pakistan will return $93.5 million to Russia within 90 days of the signing of the agreement and clear pending exporters' claims that sums up to $23.8 million as per the settlement agreements reached in 2016-17.
The trade dispute negatively affected the relations between Russia and Pakistan and it is hoped that the settlement would open doors for enhanced bilateral political, economic and diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Trade dispute's background
As per reports, back in 1980s, the then Soviet Union used to buy textile and other materials from Pakistan. For this purpose the USSR opened two bank accounts in the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), with funds getting deposited in the accounts by the Economic Affairs Division through State Bank of Pakistan.
Upon the disintegration of Soviet Union, some exports payments were left unpaid and as the trade dispute got prolonged. Pakistani companies got stay orders in the Sindh High Court, barring the NBP from transferring funds of Russian banks held in its two accounts since 1996.