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Japan must enter FTA or lose market to China: Humayun

The News International | 24 January 2007

Japan must enter FTA or lose market to China: Humayun

By Khalid Mustafa

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad on Tuesday asked Japan to strike Free Trade Agreement (FTA) otherwise the import of auto parts and machinery from Japan will suffer in the wake of FTA with China, Humayun Akhter Khan, Commerce Minister said Monday.

Addressing a press conference he said after FTA with China influx of auto parts and machinery would accelerate from China in case Japan does not go for FTA.

This is the right time for Japan and Pakistan to initiate talks on FTA, Humayun said in the press briefing held after the Pakistan-Japan Business Forum and Japan Pakistan Business Cooperation Committee Joint dialogue between government and business in Islamabad.

He said that both sides have constituted a Joint Study Group between Japanese and Pakistan businessmen as this will look into issues and solve them, which are impeding growth of two-way trade.

Pakistan’s trade volume with Japan is not up to the mark as it is at present hovering at $2 billion, out which the import from Japan stands at $1.8 billion and export from Pakistan is hardly at $140 million.

“The Joint study group will remove the hurdles in the ways of exports of Pakistan to Japan.”

The minister also said that Japan should look beyond the auto sector and invest in energy, IT and banking sectors.

Humayun said that both sides discussed issues of double taxation, under invoicing, visa procedure for businessmen, law and order, improvement of raw cotton and rescheduling of payments. He said both sides have made progress on the said issues.

Secretary Commerce Syed Asif Shah after the press briefing told that Pakistan has asked Japan to increase its investment in sectors apart from autos.

Shah said: “We have told in the meeting that law and order has improve tremendously in Pakistan. We also told them that the image of Pakistan is not what Japanese think in their country, as the ground realities are very different here as Pakistan’s society is very tolerant and the business atmosphere is very conducive.”

“Pakistan’s side also briefed in the meeting about the speedy implementation of Intellectual Property Rights’ law in the country.” He said that within one year the piracy structure in Pakistan has been demolished.

Ms Michiyo Takagi, Japanese Parliamentary Secretary who led Japan’s side in the dialogue told the journalised that there is a new thinking in Japan regarding Pakistan and she hoped that more effective measure be introduced to increase investment in Pakistan and trade.

 source: The News International