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Pakistan delays FTA-II signing with China at last moment
Apr '18
Pakistan delays FTA-II signing with China at last moment
Pakistan recently put on hold the signing of a revised free trade agreement (FTA) with China at the last moment due to strong reservations regarding the final offer list shared by Beijing, according to the country’s minister of state for finance Rana Muhammad Afzal. He was briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance on the FTA’s second phase.

The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan reportedly held recent meetings with the Pakistani commerce secretary and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to push the deal. The standing committee expressed concern over what it termed the secret nature of the FTA-II talks, according to Pakidtani media reports.

The business community of Pakistan’s textile hub Faisalabad voiced serious reservations over the final offer list by China.

Till now, both sides have held ten rounds of negotiations for finalising the FTA-II. However, the industry and Federal Board of Revenue fiercely resisted after the commerce ministry revealed in an internal meeting that Pakistan would offer zero duties on 75 per cent of imported tariff lines, the reports said.

Under first phase of the FTA, Pakistan gave duty concessions on 35 per cent of tariff lines, which led to a huge influx of Chinese goods and many local industries could not survive.

Afzal regretted that the commerce ministry did not take all stakeholders into confidence before offering huge concessions to Beijing. Trade with China was already one-sided and if further concessions are offered, no industry would survive in Pakistan, he cautioned. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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