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Pakistan, China to hold FTA talks on 10th

The News, Pakistan

Pakistan, China to hold FTA talks on 10th

3 October 2006

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China are scheduled to hold fourth round of negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Beijing on October 10.

It would be a crucial phase, since both sides will try to sort out differences on fundamental issues relating to a free trade regime, making maximum reduction of taxes on trade items. A senior official-level delegation will leave for Beijing on Sunday to represent Pakistan at the talks.

A senior official of the Commerce Ministry told APP that they are looking forward to expedite the negotiation process in order to complete it by the year-end.

The FTA will be a major step forward expanding the scope of import-export between the two friendly countries. The two sides are holding talks, keeping in view the complementarily advantages in their industrial and trade structure, ensuring equal benefit and a “win-win” situation.

Both the countries enjoy most favourable environment to conclude a mutually beneficial agreement because of their excellent diplomatic relationship, the sources said, adding they are prepared to accommodate each other upholding their overall business interest.

FTA was raised at a time when such trade arrangements are becoming increasingly popular and the two countries have stepped up their efforts to strengthen their economic ties. Pakistan pinned great hope on FTA, also for correcting its balance of trade position with China.

Over the past few years, China-Pakistan economic and trade relations have developed quickly. In 2005, bilateral trade reached US$4.26 billion, up by 39 per cent as compared to 2004. Trade between China and Pakistan amounted to US$1.018 billion in January to March this year, up by 42.3 per cent as compared to the same period last year.

By March 2006, contractual investment of China in Pakistan was US$100 million, turnover of overseas projects was US$6.9 billion. Pakistan invested US$24.31 million in China in all. The enhancement of the bilateral ties reflects the political will of the two governments and also the aspiration of the two nations, the sources said, adding that it serves the fundamental interests of two sides and is conducive to peace and prosperity in the region.