Pakistan will look to expedite PTA in JMC session | Pakistan Today

Pakistan will look to expedite PTA in JMC session

KARACHI – Pakistan is likely to reaffirm its willingness for a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Turkey, which will lead to a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), in the forthcoming fourteenth session of the Pakistan-Turkey Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) in Istanbul. The session is scheduled to be held from May 04-05, 2011 after a break of over one year, sources said. An official delegation, led by Minister of Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim, is also likely to attend the impending session of JMC. The Ministry of Commerce has also asked for details, from concerned departments and ministries, regarding implementation status of agreements in the previous session.
Sources claimed that Pakistan is willing to negotiate and finalise the PTA as both nations have already agreed in the Framework Agreement on PTA of 2004. Pakistan is looking for a FTA with the foreign country, provided it is permitted by Turkey’s commitments under its customs union with European Union (EU). However, sources stated that PTA between Pakistan and Turkey was signed in January 2004. However, Turkey has been working on a go-slow policy as 80 percent of the tariff lines of Turkey were bound with the European Union (EU) customs union.
In addition, Turkey could not agree to allow substantial concessions for the remaining 20 percent tariff lines as it was a politically sensitive issue.
Beside FTA issues, the two countries would also discuss various options to boost trade volume to around $2.0 billion by 2012, as current trade stands at a meager $740 million. Pakistan’s export to the foreign country has also increased by 50.35 percent during the first six months of the financial year 2010-2011, as Islamabad exported goods worth $320.56 million during July to December 2010 compared to $213.2 million in the corresponding period of 2009.
The two countries had earlier agreed to pursue negotiations and to finalise the FTA at the earliest.
An increase in bilateral trade through regional economic organisations such as Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) was decided in the thirteenth session of the JMC. In addition, it was agreed that the two sides would exchange reciprocal ‘investment assessment delegations’ with a view to determine the potential and to enhance acquaintances among investment circles of the two countries. The two countries had also signed memorandum of understandings (MoUs) in the areas of economic cooperation, agro based industries and investment during the previous visit of Turkish President Abdullah Gul to Pakistan.
Besides, various plans including an increase of flights and establishment of a 6,500km long rail link between Istanbul and Islamabad would be discussed in the forthcoming JMC. Pakistani exports to Turkey include rice, sesame seeds, leather, textiles, fabrics, sports goods and medical equipment. While, Pakistan’s imports from Turkey primarily include machinery and parts, chemical elements and compounds, chemical materials, non-ferrous metals and colouring material etc.

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