The News | Friday, October 16, 2009
Pakistan, Turkey agree to start FTA talks
By our correspondent
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey have initiated negotiations on a free trade agreement and a formal accord will be signed during Turkish prime minister’s visit to Pakistan next month.
At a joint press conference after the 13th session of Pak-Turkey Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) here on Thursday, Commerce Minister Amin Fahim and his Turkish counterpart Mehmet Aydin said both sides had agreed in principle to start talks on the free trade agreement. However, they did not give any timeframe for the conclusion of the talks.
“Turkey will take the benefit of Pakistan’s roadmap and plan of action as it has an experience of having preferential and free trade agreements with other friendly countries,” said Aydin but quickly added “there is no need to waste time in formalities and other procedures.”
To a question about cooperation in different areas, the Turkish minister said cooperation between the two countries should not be limited and they should explore new areas to maximise trade.
Meanwhile, both sides were convinced that despite the global economic crisis, the $2 billion bilateral trade target could be realised by the end of 2012, said an official announcement released after the two-day meeting.
The two countries, considering the importance of effective functioning of private sector-based platforms in promoting bilateral relations, decided to expedite initiatives of Pakistan-Turkish Business Council and hold its next meeting in the first half of 2010, it added.
Both sides also emphasised the importance of enhancement of trade through regional economic organisations like Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) and Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
They also agreed to exchange ‘investment assessment delegations’ in 2010 with a view to determining potential sectors and providing information to investment circles of the two countries.
Two agreements ‘Protocol on establishing a mechanism for regular consultations on contracting and consulting engineering services’ and an MoU on planning between Pakistan and Turkey were received from the Turkish side, it added.
They agreed to explore possibilities of cooperation in the form of joint ventures between the business communities of the two countries. An agreement was also reached to increase collaboration in the field of science and technology, the statement concluded.