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INCREASING TRADE: GOVT CONTEMPLATING FTA WITH SOUTH PACIFIC COUNTRIES.
10/31/2017

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE (31/10/2017)

INCREASING TRADE: GOVT CONTEMPLATING FTA WITH SOUTH PACIFIC COUNTRIES

ISLAMABAD:  The government is planning to initiate dialogue with South Pacific countries for formalising a free trade agreement (FTA) to increase exports and trade, a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce told APP on Monday.

Countries including the Philippines and Japan in the Pacific region are on the list of countries to which the government intends to propose a preferential trade agreement (PTA) leading to a FTA, the official informed.

Pakistan, Vietnam to start FTA talks

He said that Pakistan has started initial negotiation on the proposed FTA with Japan, while the Philippines has also agreed to exchange the initial list of products slated for reduced import duties.

Replying to another question regarding FTA with South East Asian Economies, he said that Pakistan and Indonesia agreed to provide duty concessions on 20 different items during the recently held bilateral negotiations on the PTA.

“Both countries discussed 20 tariff lines and Indonesia agreed to give concession on major exports from Pakistan including rice, textile, ethanol, citrus (kinnow) and mangoes during renegotiation on the PTA,” the official said, adding Pakistani citrus exports to Indonesia will increase from 18 to 35 million tons and mango exports will shoot up to 10 million tons per year.

He said that before the PTA, Indonesia granted only two months for export of Pakistan’s citrus and mangoes but after renegotiating, Pakistan can export these fruits to Indonesia for the whole year without any time limitations.

Pak-Thailand FTA: Pakistan wants duties eased on 100 products

Replying to a question, he said that Pakistan and Indonesia have current annual trade volume of $170 million which is expected to increase after the forthcoming renegotiation between the two countries once the PTA is completed.

Both countries have also agreed to upgrade the PTA to the proposed FTA, the official said, adding that the PTA was signed in February 2012 and its activation was followed by the signing of a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on plant quarantine and Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures between Indonesia and Pakistan.

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