Islamabad – Pakistan has secured much-awaited market access of $01 billion from China for doubling country’s exports within one year, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said on Wednesday.
The duty free market access for boosting exports of Pakistan’s made-ups will double country’s exports as Islamabad has sought facility equivalent to Asean states in terms of duty free so that Pakistan’s products can compete into Chinese markets. The free trade agreement with Asean countries has resulted into disadvantaged position of Pakistani products so Islamabad was demanding of similar facility to boost its dwindling exports.
Pakistan’s trade deficit with China has been ranging around $12 to $14 billion on per annum basis as Islamabad’s exports to China stood at $1.2 billion and imports in the range of $14 to $16 billion. Now it will be challenge for the government to ensure exportable surplus to fully exploit this facility. Islamabad will have to request to China to remove other non tariff barriers (NTBs) so that Pakistan can boost up its exports.
“Beijing offered the facility in response to Pakistan’s request for granting it duty free status that Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Bangladesh are entitled to,” said the Adviser while addressing a press conference along with Federal Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtyar here on Wednesday.
Terming the PM’s visit successful, he said that it immediately resulted into providing opening up of trade in shape of $1 billion facility. China’s prime minister also assured that in case Pakistan fully utilised the facility, it would increase the size to $2 billion in next year.
To a question, the adviser said that his stance on CPEC was vindicated after both the countries agreed to move away from infrastructure and power projects. He said that PM Khan’s visit to Beijing has set the tone for implementation of the second phase of the CPEC.
He said that Pakistanis and Chinese authorities will decide how much textile, leather, and other goods could be exported to fully utilise the duty free facility. At this stage, he said that he did not have list of items that would be eligible for duty-free exports, adding that a Pakistani delegation would hold talks with Chinese authorities in Beijing on November 9 for finalising details of market access and the balance of payment support.
The adviser said that both the countries have agreed to finalise Free Trade Agreement before June 2019 and next round of talks will be held in Beijing. “Pakistan and China have agreed to broaden the CPEC trajectory: it will be now one corridor with many doors," said Khurso Bakhtyar.
He said that both the countries have signed 15 MoUs for further cooperation in the area of socio-economic development, poverty alleviation, agriculture, economic and technical cooperation, forestry, earth sciences, higher education and technology.
Khusro Bakhtyar emphasised upon the need for accelerating the industrial cooperation and said that both sides decided to move with the next phase with a focus on industrial expansion, agricultural revitalisation and integration of trade ties.