ISLAMABAD, April 6: Pakistan has requested New Zealand for initiation of dialogue on signing a free trade agreement between the two countries.
A senior official in the commerce ministry told Dawn that the request was made following realisation to get special market access for the Pakistani products in the New Zealand markets.
Official statistics showed that Pakistan total exports to New Zealand stood at mere $33.695 million in the year 2010. The exports mostly of textiles were static for the past few years.
The global import of New Zealand stood at $30.157 billion in the year 2010. This makes a strong case to seek better market access for the Pakistani products in the New Zealand market.
In this regard, Pakistan and New Zealand held the first round of Joint Trade Comm-ittee (JTC) in Wellington last month to explore the possibilities for initiation of dialogue on entering into a free trade arrangement.
Pakistan and New Zealand had signed a trade agreement in 1990. As part of this agreement both sides will have to hold meeting of the JTC, which had been delayed for almost 22 years. In the first meeting of the JTC, a detailed briefing was given on Pakistan’s free trade agreements programme, whether at bilateral level or regional agreements to the New Zealand authorities.
The New Zealand side was specially briefed on the progress made in the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta).
According to the minutes of the meeting, the New Zealand side briefed Pakistan on the progress of its current FTA initiative, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Pakistan was offered observe member status to the Global Research Alliance on Agriculture Greenhouse Gases.