KARACHI: China agreed to address major concerns of Pakistan about the preference erosion of its exports and meaningful market access during the latest round of negotiations over the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) held in Beijing on Sept 14-15.
The negotiation hit an impasse in the last few rounds, but the eighth meeting of the second phase of negotiations over the FTA concluded with a ‘breakthrough’, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Commerce on Friday.
The meeting was co-chaired by Commerce Secretary Mohammad Younus Dagha and Chinese Vice Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen.
In the last seven rounds, Pakistan pleaded the case for the restoration of its preference under the FTA that had been eroded due to subsequent FTAs of China. Mr Dagha pointed out that the preference on 79 per cent of Pakistan’s exports to China had been eroded. Pakistan has also shown concern about not being able to get meaningful market access during the first phase of the FTA.
Pakistan had been raising this issue with the Chinese side time and again during the previous rounds without any consensus to address these concerns.
Pakistan shared a list of around 70 high-priority items of its export interest for immediate market access. The Chinese side agreed to consider the list favourably. These tariff lines constitute more than 80pc of Pakistan’s current exports to China.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2017