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Pakistan eager to start FTA talks with Pacific countries


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan wants to initiate negotiations with the Pacific and Southeast Asian countries for free trade agreements (FTAs) in an effort to enhance trade and export competitiveness, a senior official of the Ministry of Commerce told APP on Wednesday.

These countries include Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines from the Pacific region, the official said. Pakistan and Indonesia have already agreed on concessions on 20 different items during bilateral negotiations for a preferential trade agreement (PTA).
Both sides discussed 20 tariff lines and Jakarta agreed to give concessions on major export products of Pakistan including rice, textile, ethanol, citrus (kinnow) and mango, he said.  “Concession on 20 tariff lines is a major success for Pakistan and now citrus and mango exports to Indonesia are expected to increase,” the official added.
Before the PTA, Indonesia granted only two months for the export of Pakistan’s citrus and mangoes but after negotiations, these fruits can be shipped to Indonesia for the entire year.
Replying to a question, he said annual bilateral trade between Pakistan and Indonesia stands at $170 million which was expected to increase significantly.
He pointed out that the activation of PTA followed the signing of a mutual recognition agreement on plant quarantine and sanitary and phytosanitary measures between Indonesia and Pakistan.