Singapore-Pak FTA by year-end
Wednesday, 24 May 2006
Singapore: Singapore and Pakistan will sign the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) before the end of this year, Federal Minister of Commerce, Himayun Akhtar Khan has said.
’’Considerable progress has already been made. We should be able to conclude the negotiations within the next one or two rounds and the deal would be ready for formal signing before the end of the year,’’ the Straits Times quoting Khan said today.
FTA negotiation teams from the two countries are scheduled to meet in Pakistan in July as the third round of trade talks concluded in Singapore in March.
The FTA will facilitate trade in goods and services, cover investments as well as professional and educational exchanges between the two countries, he said.
Pakistan was also pursuing bilateral trade deals with a number of countries including China and Malaysia, to level the playing field for its traders to sell in fast-growing economies, Khan said.
The free trade pact negotiations with China and Malaysia were in an advanced stage and would be finalised soon, he added.
Khan also underlined that Pakistan wanted more Chinese investment and access for its exporters to the huge Chinese market.
Pakistan was also set to commence negotiation with Indonesia on the FTA to enlarge its engagement with East Asia, which is a key driver of global growth. It would also commence talks with Thailand and Laos next in this regard, he said here on Tuesday.
However, he stressed that Pakistan’s economic strategy was to promote growth led by domestic demand, even Islamabad was pursuing export-led growth.