The Express Tribune - 11 September 2023
Signing of FTA with UAE likely this month
Pakistan was expected to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the upcoming visit of an Emirati delegation in the last week of this month, caretaker Commerce Minister Dr Gohar Ejaz announced on Sunday.
The UAE is Pakistan’s third-largest trade partner after China and the United States. The Gulf country is also home to an estimated 1.8 million Pakistani expatriates and hence the second-largest source of remittances of more than E240 million after Saudi Arabia.
The UAE is also viewed as an ideal export destination by policymakers in Pakistan mainly because of its geographical proximity to the country which reduced transportation and freight costs. Ejaz said that the UAE delegation’s visit would be focused on trade, investment, and economy.
"An Emirates delegation is planned for end September to finalise the FTA," an Arab News report quoted Ejaz as saying.
The report added that the UAE had already signed FTAs with around nine countries and was working with Pakistan on it.
Pakistan’s Ambassador to UAE, Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, told Arab News that both the countries were optimistic about signing the agreement, officially known as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), during the upcoming visit.
"There are some issues which are being negotiated and we would like to finalise the deal when they come," Tirmizi said. "A successful signing of the CEPA will potentially reduce trade tariffs that could significantly enhance Pakistan’s income and revenue," Tirmizi added.
“Our bilateral trade has increased by 24% since last year. After CEPA our market access will increase here for the UAE. There are already many significant trade events which we attended and Pakistani presence is increasing in every sector be it food, health food, pharmaceuticals, and tourism," he said.