Lahore : At a Public Consultation on Free Trade Agreements with Thailand and Turkey held by Ministry of Commerce at Lahore, the business community of Pakistan was assured that government is negotiating win-win Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Thailand and Turkey to increase trade and promote local industry.
While presenting the status of negotiations on FTAs, the officials of the ministry said that enhanced trade liberalization is need of the hour and this will benefit industry in general and consumers of Pakistan in particular in the long run.
The Ministry also announced that it will hold sector-specific consultations with business community to seek their specific input on list of items and products during process of further negotiations on FTAs with Turkey and Thailand.
The consultative meeting on potential FTAs with Turkey and Thailand, organized by the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) to seek input from the business community is not a one-time event but more such events will be held in future.
Presenting the objectives of the meeting, Ms. Robina Athar, Member, National Tariff Commission (NTC) and former chief negotiator for FTAs and additional secretary, ministry of commerce dispelled the general perception that Pakistan has not gained in the FTAs signed earlier.
Terming the consultation process a refreshing change to solicit input to formulate trade related policies and bilateral agreements, Vice President of LCCI said that government should ensure required protection of the industry.
Briefing the audience about negotiations with Turkey, Ahmed Fasih, Deputy Secretary (Europe), Ministry of Commerce informed that in addition to goods, Pakistan is also negotiating trade in services with Turkey. “Pakistan is negotiating on financial services, telecommunication services, E-Commerce, audio-visual services, co-production in films, drama and other arts, logistics and road freight transport sectors,” he said.
Making a presentation on the state of negotiations with Thailand, Shafiq Shahzad, Deputy Secretary (Asia-Pacific), Ministry of Commerce said that quantitative estimates show that the proposed FTA between Pakistan and Thailand would lead to both trade creation and trade diversion though the net welfare impact would be positive for both countries.
Taimur Tajammal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce also spoke at the occasion.
During the consultation, representatives of the different business community and traders’ associations raised their concerns and suggestions with regard to FTAs with Turkey and Thailand. They also requested that Ministry should continue to engage with relevant industry and business community and review FTAs on regular basis.