Asia Pulse | July 20, 2006
Pakistan Edges Closer to Fta With South American Trade Bloc
KARACHI, July 20 Asia Pulse — Pakistani Commerce Minister Humayun AKhtar Khan will visit Argentina and Brazil for the signing of the Framework Agreement on Trade between Pakistan and Mercosur - a customs union comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela and Uruguay.
The Minister will also participate in the Mercosur summit scheduled to be held on July 21, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
President Pervez Musharraf initiated negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Mercosur during a visit to Latin America.
Pakistna’s neighbour India signed a Preferential Trade Agreement with Mercosur in 2004.
Mercosur represents a combined market of 210 million people, with a GDP of over a trillion dollars. The Mercosur countries produce 50 per cent of Latin America’s GDP and contain 43 per cent of its population and 59 per cent of its total landmass.
It’s per capita GDP is 30 per cent higher than that of Latin America as a whole.
Argentina and Brazil dominate Mercosur, accounting for over 90 per cent of the trading block’s GDP.
Pakistan’s export diversification drive requires region specific strategies. There is a need to evolve a strategy comprising pragmatic and doable actions.