Pak-China Free Trade Agreement (PCFTA) has been in effect since 2006. The two countries Pakistan and China held talks on Monday to review the performance of the PCFTA and to put forward necessary changes required in the FTA which will be beneficial for the two countries. This was the third meeting of the second phase negotiations of the agreement.
During the PCFTA review, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) expressed its concern over the insufficient utilization of the facilities provided under the PCFTA in which only few sectors have been able to take advantage of the favorable tariffs.
Pakistan emphasized the importance to broaden its export-base to China by encouraging exports from all the sectors which falls under 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 countries.
The cost of exemption that the state exchequer has to bear due to tariff concessions under FTA also came under discussion. Pakistan also conveyed the concerns of the local industry which have to compete with the Chinese products despite the persistent energy crisis faced by Pakistan.
The concerns expressed by the two countries Pakistan and China will be taken into consideration on mutual benefit basis by readjustment and review of the FTA through provisions of the FTA.
The PCFTA review meeting from Pakistan side was headed by Additional Secretary Ministry of Commerce Robina Ather and accompanied by officials from Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Textile Industry and Ministry of 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 Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Finance, Agriculture, Customs and department of Quality Supervision.
Trade volume due to agreement between the two states was $13 billion in 2013, while is expected to reach $15 billion by 2015. China had been contributing significantly to Pakistanâ€™s imports even before the FTA was signed and has seen considerable improvement in its ranking after the FTA was implemented in 2007.
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