Daily Times, Pakistan
12 December 2004
FTA with SL in Jan: Humayun
KARACHI: Humayun Akhtar Khan, the federal minister for commerce, said on Saturday that free trade agreement with Sri Lanka would be finalised in January next year while trade talks with India are linked with sustainable political dialogue between the two countries.
Talking to reporters following a meeting with the members of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), he said talks on free trade agreement with Bangladesh could not progress due to some reasons while preferential trade agreement with China would be effective from January.
He said he is leaving on Sunday for visit ten countries where he would strive for getting greater access to their markets. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz would also strive for market access during his visit to China, he said.
Mr Khan said import duties on cars would be reduced further but it would be a slow and gradual process because the support given to local industry could not be withdrawn immediately.
He said he opposed the sales tax on exports and added that it should be abolished to help the small and medium enterprises.
He said NESPAK has been involved for completion of the effluent treatment plant project in Korangi but it would also be ensured that commitments made by tanners of that area are also fulfilled.
Earlier, Khalid Firoz, president KCCI, stressed the need for developing some mechanism whereby the export-oriented industries get back the refund of the component of electricity expenditure on their exports, because the power rates are much higher than competing countries.
APP adds: Mr Khan said the government will pay Rs 500 million as freight charges for the shipment of textile consignments by air to United States of America (USA) under textile quota between January 1 to 20, 2005. He said that the government was working with USA customs to allow this shipment after January 1, 2005 under WTO regime.