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January 7, 2015

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Govt concerned over insufficient use of Pak-China FTA

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday expressed its concern over the insufficient utilisation of the facilities provided under the Pak-China Free Trade Agreement (PCFTA) as only few sectors have been able to reap the fruits of the favorable tariffs under the accord.
While assessing performance of PCFTA, Islamabad was not content with the narrowed base for exports and margin of preferences given by China to other regions/countries, such as ASEAN.
Pakistan and China held talks to assess the performance of PCFTA and to propose necessary changes of mutual benefit for the two countries.
The PCFTA has been in effect since 2006 and it was the third meeting of the second phase negotiations of the agreement in which Pakistan’s delegation was headed by Additional Secretary Ministry of Commerce Robina Ather and accompanied by officials from the Federal Board of Revenue, ministries of industries, textile industry and Food Security and National Research.
The 10-member Chinese delegation, which will hold three-day FTA-review talks, was headed by Yao Wenliang, Deputy Director General of Ministry of Commerce of China. Other participants of the Chinese delegation included officials from Chinese ministries of industry and information technology, finance and agriculture.
Pakistan emphasised the importance to broaden its export-base to China by encouraging exports from all the sectors falling under the FTA and sought to enhance facilities and concessions on high value-added products.
Pakistan also expressed its concern over the dilution of margin of preference due to China’s FTAs with other countries, especially the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). The cost of exemption the state exchequer has to bear due to tariff concessions under the FTA also came under discussion. Pakistani side also conveyed the concerns of the local industry, which has to compete with the Chinese products despite the persistent energy crisis.

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