By Muhammad Luqman
Advisor to Pakistan’s Prime Minister on Trade, Abdul Razzaq Dawood has said that talks to finalize the second phase of Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA-2) will conclude by June next year.
” We are hopeful that the new FTA will help rationalize the balance of trade that presently is in the favour of China,” Razzaq Dawood told media after inaugurating the International Cement Conference in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore.
Abdul Razzaq Dawood was a part of the Pakistani delegation that recently visited China to seek a bailout package from Beijing to help Islamabad wriggle out of the balance of payment crisis. The South Asian nation has already got a package from Saudi Arabia to ease out its financial woes.
According to Trade Ministry officials, Pakistan is seeking unilateral concessions from China on more than 300 tariff lines in the FTA-II.
Both the countries are struggling hard to finalise the FTA-II and have held around 10 rounds of talks over the last three years. The Pakistani business community in the recent past had highlighted their concerns regarding the singing of FTA-II.
Currently, mutual trade between the two countries was recorded at $16 billion of which Pakistan exported items worth $2 billion and imported items worth $14 billion.
To tackle the problem of under-invoicing ,both countries have signed an agreement (electronic data interchange) this year to share the figures .