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January 16, 2020

China offers to help Pakistan on SPS farm trade barriers


January 16, 2020

ISLAMABAD: China on Wednesday offered Pakistan to collaborate in removing non-tariff trade barriers to its farm exports, based on sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) concerns, a government statement said.

“China has a great demand for meat and poultry and it could be lucrative international market for Pakistan and both countries must work together for removal of technical barriers like SPS and quarantine requirements,” the statement quoted Chinese ambassador Yao Jing as saying.

Jing called on Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, minister for national food Security and research in Islamabad today.

Jing said China is eager to import meat, potato, onion, mango and cherry from Pakistan and Chinese experts will visit the country’s quarantine facilities in February this year.

“China wants to build stronger socio-economic ties with Pakistan; and also wants to buy more from Pakistan” the ambassador said. China, in 2016, offered to set up foot and mouth disease-free zones in Pakistan in a bid to provide market access for the export of meat and its products.

The FMD free zone will be constructed within the territory of Pakistan according to the agreed common requirements of the parties, and the Chinese side would provide technical assistance and support. At present, there is no direct access for Pakistani meat and meat products to the Chinese market due to strict health and safety standards. China’s annual meat requirement is worth $12 to 15 billion. Currently, meat from Pakistan is exported to Gulf countries, Vietnam and Malaysia. Minister Bakhtiar said a memorandum for the establishment of food and month disease free zone is currently negotiated by both the sides.

“We believe in ease of doing business and if we collaborate for the elimination of FMD it will boost our meat export to China,” Bakhtiar said. The minister further underlined the importance of mutual cooperation in areas of value addition and food processing of horticultural crops.

Bakhtiar said the government is focusing on strategically structuring agriculture under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “We want enhanced productivity of cotton which has considerably plummeted, both countries could work on exchange of pest resistant, high yielding germplasm(s) of cotton,” the minister said.

A Pak- China Centre of Excellence is planned to establish in Multan with close coordination of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) to formulate a holistic strategy for the said purpose. “We are leaving no stone unturned to align this sector with international standards, and for that we need to equip it with modern agricultural machinery, low cost of production and modern research,” the minister said.

Federal secretary, chairman PARC and other officials of the ministry were also present at the meeting.

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