Free trade with China benefited Pakistan tremendously: Commerce Minister


Islamababad: (Parliament Times) In order to bring Pakistan more competitive in the world trade market, Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan on Thursday urged business community of the country to support trade liberalization agenda of the government.

Referring to Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China signed in 2006, the minister said Pakistan exports have tremendously benefited from the concessions in terms of raw material imported for exportable products and it has helped to become more competitive.

He was speaking to a delegation of newly elected office bearers of Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry (ICCI), led by its President Khalid Iqbal Malik here on Thursday. The minister assured the business representatives that there absolutely no threat whatsoever of rolling back Pakistan’s GSP Plus agreement with European Union (EU), in the aftermath of the Brexit.

“Moving ahead, we are negotiating with the UK to sign a GSP+ like agreement with Pakistan so that both the countries may continue further to strengthen the trade relations even after March 2019,” the minister added. The minister said Pakistan has not made noteworthy progress in signing FTAs with different economies since last one decade.  “Now, we are negotiating FTAs with Turkey, Thailand, Iran and South Korea to boost our exports on sustainable basis,” he added.

He informed the delegation that projects completing under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) facility shall not only benefit Pakistan’s exports but our next generations will also continue to reap the benefits of it. Under CPEC, he added, 16 projects are progressing at fast pace, while energy projects will start supplying electricity from March 2017 to the national grid.

The ICCI delegation invited Minister for Commerce to visit its office and newly established Export Display Center. They demanded the minister to help them in availing a one-window facility for exporters and traders, addressing lease extension issues with capital administration and unnecessary duty impositions.