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Pakistan decides to initiate dialogue with EU for free trade agreement: PM

Pak Tribune | 24 January 2007

Pakistan decides to initiate dialogue with EU for free trade agreement: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said Pakistan has decided to initiate talks with European Union (EU) for signing free trade agreement.

He said this in a letter in a letter addressed to EC president Jose Manuel Barroso, which was delivered to the latter through diplomatic channel.

Prime minister indicated that all the countries of South Asia except India are sending their exports to European Union (EU) duty free. EU is ready to go for free trade agreement with India. If it happens so, Pakistan will have to suffer heavily in terms of its exports trade, he added.

Shaukat Aziz has also stated in his letter country’s exports in textile sector have declined by 9 percent for EU following the abolition of textile quota since January , 2005. On the other hand EU exports to Pakistan have gone up by 30 percent. Owing to these reasons Pakistan has decided to start talks with EU for free trade agreement.

He pointed out country’s imports from EU constitutes 0.1 percent of the total imports of the former from Pakistan. If EU allows more access to Pakistani products, it will leave no negative impact on European market or textile industries.

Prime Minister held Pakistan has always remained eager to consolidate economic ties with EU. Pakistan is benefiting from Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) at present. But it is still kept out of the list of the countries availing incentives offered under EU Special Incentive Arrangement for Sustainable Development and Good Governance. These are the causes leading country to instability in economic growth. These will leave negative implications on the political and security situation of the country.

Prime Minister will visit Brussels on January, 29 and will hold talks with EU on free trade agreement.

 source: Pak Tribune