Iran, Pakistan finalize draft of free trade agreement

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Financial Tribune | 7 December 2017

Iran, Pakistan finalize draft of free trade agreement

Pakistan and Iran have finalized the draft of the much-awaited Free Trade Agreement and the expeditious resolution of banking channel issues, official sources told Business Recorder.

This understanding was reached during the third meeting of the Trade Negotiation Committee on Pakistan-Iran Free Trade Area Agreement held on Nov. 21-22, 2017 in Tehran, Pakistan’s biggest financial daily reported on Tuesday.

The Iranian delegation was headed by Mirhadi Seyyedi, deputy for export market development at Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, and Pakistan’s delegation was headed by Bilal Khan Pasha, joint secretary of that country’s Ministry of Commerce and Textile.

The next meeting of TNC is expected to be held in January 2018 in Islamabad in which the FTA, which comprises 26 articles and five annexure, is expected to roll.

The sources said the text of FTA was finalized after two days of marathon deliberations between the officials and technical experts. Both parties reviewed the status of the negotiations held so far and the progress made to proceed further on all decisions taken earlier by the TNC, particularly during the second TNC meeting in Islamabad. Ways and means of expediting all issues were discussed.

Both parties reviewed the recent trade statistics of bilateral trade and reaffirmed the necessity of having a formal exchange of trade statistics between their customs authorities regularly in the framework that has already been determined.

According to sources, the Pakistani side informed the Iranian side of its readiness for participating in a seminar that would be hosted by Iran to increase the awareness of opportunities available under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor for Iranian private and business sectors.

Iran will consider the issue and follow it up with the Pakistani side.

On the second day of the meeting, the TNC agreed on the preliminary final draft of Free Trade Area Agreement regarding goods and prepared the draft duly initiated by the respective heads of TNC.

Both sides held preliminary discussions on the base year, Tariff Reduction Modality and FTA in goods to be finalized in the next TNC meetings.

"We have decided to carry out further deliberations to complete all annexes of the FTA agreement by June 2018, which would complete the technical process of the final FTA for the approval of the respective governments," the sources added.

Both sides reviewed the tentative wish-lists exchanged during the second TNC meeting for broadening PTA. The two sides agreed to exchange the final lists by January 31, 2018, with the objective of finalizing those by incorporating them in the Pakistan-Iran PTA by March 2018.

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