Daily Times (Pakistan)
14 January 2007
Pakistan-Mauritius talks on PTA conclude
Formal signing process to be expedited
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Mauritius here on Saturday concluded the discussion on the bilateral Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) and both sides have agreed to expedite the process for its formal signing.
Both sides have expressed the hope that the coming into force of the PTA will give a new boost to trade development and will pave the way for a concluding Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
The Joint Working Group (JWG), established by the governments of Pakistan and Mauritius, held its fifth round of talks in Islamabad from Jan 11 to 13. H.E. Mr. Anand P Neewoor led the Mauritius delegation, while Secretary for Foreign Affairs Mr Nasim Qureshi and Additional Secretary Ministry of Commerce led the Pakistani side.
According a Joint Communiqué issued at the conclusion of the fifth round, during their visit to Islamabad, the Mauritius delegation called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Khurshid M Kasuri .The delegation also had working sessions with the commerce secretary, foreign affairs secretary and the secretary for information technology. Both sides recalled the existence of excellent friendly relations between the two countries, based on historical and cultural affinities. They underscored the need to build strong economic and trade relations for the mutual benefits of both countries.
The Mauritius delegation also held a series of discussions with officials from various organizations, namely the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority, Pakistan International Airlines, Civil Aviation Authority, Central Board of Revenue, Ministry of Industries and National Engineering Services of Pakistan (NESPAK), it added.
Discussions on the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) have now been concluded. Both sides have agreed to expedite the process for the formal signature of the PTA. The coming into force of the PTA will give a new boost to trade development and will pave the way for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, it said.
Both sides have agreed to widen the scope of trade in services, investment economic and technical cooperation. They have agreed to pursue sector-specific dialogue with the view to entering into a framework agreement covering these areas. In order to enhance collaboration amongst the relevant institutions of the two countries, a series of MoUs have been finalised between the state trading corporations, standard-setting bodies, SMEs authorities and export promotion agencies.
Cooperation in the fields of fisheries and research and development issues will also be pursued. The civil aviation authorities of both countries have agreed on holding further talks in March 2007 with regard to air access. The two parties have also agreed to look into these specific training needs, the Communiqué said.
During the meeting with the secretary for information technology, it was pointed out that the IT ministers of both countries have expressed keen interest to enhance cooperation. This exchange would be, amongst others, in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, the setting up of joint-ventures for the provision of joint services both hardware and software to Mauritius and the SADC/COMESA region.
The Foreign Trade Institute of Pakistan has offered to organise a training course in the field of Trade Policy formulation and economic diplomacy for the benefit of a group of Mauritius officers.
Both sides agreed to examine the detailed proposals for the setting up of the Urdu Institute in Mauritius to promote cultural exchanges, as well as the development of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah Complex in Port Louis. The Mauritius delegation on the invitation of Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry had a working session at the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce &Industry and exchanged views with the private sector on promotion of trade between the two countries, the Communiqué concluded.