Pakistan and Turkey in final stages of free trade agreement

The long pending Pak-Turkey Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is finally at the brink of conclusion as both countries have agreed to eliminate 85% of tariffs.

Both sides have also agreed to address all the remaining issues in the FTA which is to be signed by the end of this year.

The understanding was reached between the two countries during the fourth round of Pakistan-Turkey FTA negotiations, which was held in Islamabad from August 29-31.

The Pakistani side was headed by the Ministry of Commerce additional secretary Robina Ather and the Turkish delegation was headed by Turkish Ministry of Economy Deputy Undersecretary Husnu Dilemre.

Both countries also agreed that the elimination of 85% tariffs shall include regulatory duties and additional duties.

It is hoped that Pakistan’s exports to Turkey will likely increase by $500 to $600 million in a short span after the FTA. The trade volume between the two countries stood at around $500 million by 2014-15, with export to Turkey recorded at $309.19 million and imports at $191.05 million.

Major trade items between Pakistan and Turkey are fabrics, beverages, spirits and vinegar, plastics and articles thereof, chemicals, and machinery.

A senior officer in the commerce ministry told The Express Tribune that both countries want to expedite the process and sign the document by the end of this year to tap the massive potential of bolstering trade.

The officer said that Pakistan and Turkey have very close cooperation in diverse fields, and this step will help double the trade volume.

The officer said that the current balance of trade is in favour of Pakistan and the agreement will benefit Turkey as well.

During a recent visit by a Turkish business delegation to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry its members strongly advocated the signing of the FTA.  The members of the delegation expressed hope that such an accord could spur joint ventures, besides increasing trade.

The Express Tribune

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