FTA between Pakistan and China expected to be taken to phase-II to increase trade opportunities

Islamabad – Pakistan and China have been boosting bilateral ties, ever since the inception of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Just recently, both countries have started negotiating on the second round of the Free-Trade-Agreement (FTA), which will help in providing new avenues of trade and investment between the two countries.

Both countires have also signed more than 100 MoUs in various fields of industry such as steel, seafood, agriculture and pharmaceutical industry.

China and Pakistan are negotiating the terms of the second phase of their free trade agreement to increase trade and provide free trade opportunity for their businesses, a senior Chinese diplomat has said.

Beijing and Islamabad have held around 10 rounds of talks to iron out differences over the terms of the phase-II of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement. Both the country had signed a major free trade agreement in 2006, which came into effect in July 2007.

"Pakistan has huge potential market for international investors and its strategic location gives more comparative advantages to other trading partners. Pakistan and China are negotiating on phase-II of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to increase trade and provide free trade opportunity in their markets," Economic and Commercial Counselor of Chinese Embassy, Wang Zhihua said.

Meawhile, Pakistan and China have signed eight memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth USD 100 million for mutual investment in steel, seafood, agriculture and pharmaceutical sectors, media reports said on Wednesday.

The MoUs, for mutual investment and joint ventures to expedite the trade and business between both the nations, were signed by 14 private companies from both the countries at the Pakistan-China Trade Cooperation Projects event, organised by the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and the Ministry of Commerce China, the state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

Wang said Pakistan is a friendly country and China believes in peaceful co-existence and cooperation for shared property. "Since the diplomatic relations started between Pakistan and China, the cooperation between both the sides has increased in defence, technology, agriculture, leather and chemicals sectors," Wang was quoted as saying by The Nation newspaper.

The diplomat said in the recent years, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), under the 'One Belt One Road (OBOR)' initiative, has given a new height to the mutual relation and cooperation between two friendly nations.

Pakistan's Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Textile, Syed Tariq Huda, said that Chinese investment in Pakistan has given positive impact to the country's local market.

"We have USD 60 billion Chinese investment in CPEC which includes development projects in Gwadar," he added. Huda said that the OBOR initiatives also give vision for inclusions and welfare of all region.

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