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Pakistan, Thailand to begin dialogue on FTA, says minister

Daily Times, Pakistan

Pakistan, Thailand to begin dialogue on FTA, says minister

Staff Report

9 May 2015

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Thailand will start dialogue on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) soon as Cabinet of Thailand has agreed allowing negotiations for FTA with Pakistan.

Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan has said Ministry of Commerce would undertake intense trade diplomacy in coming financial year to allow easy access to Pakistani exporters in lucrative international markets and regions. Pakistan will initiate trade dialogue with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN-10-member bloc of East Asian countries) to get status of ‘Full Dialogue Partner’ by 2018. This will set stage for a full fledge FTA with ASEAN, which would open up huge markets for Pakistani products. Negotiations with Japan and Korea were also underway and would help strengthen Pakistan’s economy. Korean Minister for Trade has invited Pakistani Minister for Commerce to visit Korea. The visit to Korea is expected in second half of current calendar year and date is being finalised.

Minister for Commerce said Ministry through extensive research has prepared a template and framework for negotiating future Preferential Trade Agreement(s) and FTAs with other countries. This framework takes into consideration strengths and weaknesses of Pakistani economy and will help Ministry to safeguard interests of Pakistani importers and exporters while negotiating future trade agreements. This will eliminate apprehensions of Pakistani business community, which they had towards previous trade agreements. Ministry of Commerce will start negotiations with Afghanistan for PTA and Thailand and Turkey for FTAs in coming months. Secretary Commerce visited Vietnam for trade talks and undertook decisive trade talks in Hanoi, Vietnam.