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Comprehensive FTA with South Korea proposed: Mamnoon

Business Recorder, Pakistan

Comprehensive FTA with South Korea proposed: Mamnoon

16 April 2014

President Mamnoon Hussain on Tuesday urged the need for transforming the traditional close and cordial relationship between Pakistan and Republic of Korea into a substantive trade and economic partnership to the mutual benefit of the peoples of the two countries. The President stated this during his meeting with Chung Hong-won, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea here at the Presidency.

The two leaders exchanged views on Pakistan-Korea bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest. Welcoming the Korean Prime Minister on his first-ever visit to Pakistan, the President said Pakistan attached great importance to its comprehensive and broad-based relations with Republic of Korea in the context of its Vision East Asia Policy.

He expressed the hope that the visit would prove to be instrumental in further deepening bilateral ties between the two countries. Highlighting the investment potential of Pakistan, the President said the country has huge opportunities in diverse fields, including energy, infrastructure and Railways and telecommunications; and invited Korean investors and entrepreneurs to invest in these sectors and avail the lucrative incentives offered by the government to the foreign investors.

Discussing bilateral ties, the two leaders expressed satisfaction that bilateral co-operation during the past three decades has expanded and intensified in various areas and urged for further enhancing bilateral trade and investment ties to the mutual benefit. President Mamnoon said mutual interaction of businessmen and entrepreneurs is crucial to explore new avenues for investment and trade and urged for frequent exchange of business delegations to tap the huge trade potential existing between the two countries. The President also stressed the need to transform Pakistan’’s economy into a knowledge-based economy with the help and co-operation of South Korea.

He emphasised the need for rigorous efforts on both sides, including business community for bolstering the current trade volume between the two countries to a level commensurate to bilateral trade potential. He said Pakistan has proposed a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea encompassing trade, investment and services with the purpose to further enhance trade between the two countries.

He expressed the hope that the various MoUs and agreements signed during the visit of the Korean Prime Minister in various fields would explore new avenues of mutual co-operation and help boost Pak-Korea trade and economic ties to new heights. On parliamentary ties, the two leaders expressed satisfaction that both Pakistan and Korea have parliamentary friendship groups established in their respective parliaments. President Mamnoon urged for frequent exchange of parliamentary delegations, which, he said, is crucial to promote people-to-people contacts and enhancing better understanding and co-operation between the elected representatives of the two countries.

Prime Minister Chung Hong-won thanked the President and Government of Pakistan for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to him and the accompanying delegation and said Korea valued its ties with Pakistan and is keen to further boost the existing relations through enhanced economic and trade co-operation. He hoped that high-level interaction between the two countries would provide new impetus to the existing strong partnership between Pakistan and South Korea.

The Korean Prime Minister was accompanied by Song Jong-Hwan, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Pakistan Cho Taeyul, 2nd Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Han Jinhyun, Vice Minister for Trade & Energy, Lee Hoyoung, Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister, Lee Seokwoo, Deputy Minister for Public Information and Press Affairs, Prime Minister’’s Office and Jung Byeong-Hoo, Deputy Director-General for South Asian and Pacific Affairs, MoFA.

From Pakistan’’s side, those present during the meeting included Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Sartaj Aziz, Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Syed Tariq Fatemi, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Nadeem Hassan Asif, Secretary to the President, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Foreign Secretary and Zahid Nasrullah, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Republic of Korea.