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‘Time is ripe to finalise Pakistan, Morocco FTA’

Pakistan Times, Pakistan

‘Time is ripe to finalise Pakistan, Morocco FTA’

Staff Report

17 March 2012

KARACHI: Pakistan and Morocco should finalise Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as it is conducive to enhance overall trade, which provides comprehensive and legally binding protection to foreign capital, repatriation of principal amount and the profits.

Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Textiles Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig stated this while addressing the Morocco-Asia Business Forum on Friday.

Pakistan is a member of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and signatory to all international treaties related to trade and investment including Intellectual Property Rights (copyright).

Baig said official trade volume between Pakistan and Morocco is approximately $345 million, out of which Moroccan exports to Pakistan are $314 million.

Pakistan imports 90 percent of rock phosphate for fertilizer industry from Morocco. Main items of exports to Morocco are man-made fibre, denim and pharmaceuticals, said Baig.

Pakistan is a leading manufacturer and exporter of surgical instruments and sports goods. Incidentally, Pakistani surgical instruments are imported into Morocco through some European countries, this means higher cost for Moroccan buyers.

There are many complementaries and through collaboration, joint ventures, mutual investment and sharing of knowledge and expertise, both countries can develop beneficial win-win economic partnerships.

The inhibiting factors in enhancing trade include absence of banking channels, direct air and shipping links as well as high tariffs and the cumbersome goods clearance procedures in Morocco. There is need for more liberal business visa regime.

Morocco can star joint ventures in light engineering goods and information technology as Pakistan excels in these sectors besides has a large pool of skilled, efficient and competitive manpower.

Pakistan is keen to learn from Morocco’s successful tourism policy and Pakistan would like to learn from Moroccan experience to increase tourism to Pakistan.

Pakistan is the second largest producer of cotton yarn, second largest producer of chickpeas (hummus), apricot and edible salt, third largest producer of fabric, fourth largest producer of cotton, fifth largest producer of milk, seventh largest producer of world’s best mangoes, eighth largest producer of citrus fruits, ninth largest producer of Halal meat, sugar and many other items, he concluded.