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Breakthrough in Pak-China talks on Free Trade Agreement

China Pak

BEIJING: China has agreed to address the major concerns of Pakistan regarding preference erosion of its exports and meaningful market access during the 2nd phase of negotiations of China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) held recently in Beijing.

The 8th meeting of 2nd Phase negotiations of China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) held in Beijing on September 14-15th, concluded with breakthrough in the negotiation which had hit an impasse in the last few rounds.

The meeting was co-chaired by Mohammad Younus Dagha, Secretary Commerce, Pakistan and Wang Shouwen, Vice Minister for Commerce, China, according to an official statement issued by Ministry of Commerce.

In the last seven rounds, Pakistan had been pleading the case of restoration of its preference under the FTA which had been eroded due to subsequent FTAs of China.

Younus Dagha pointed out that the preference on 79% of Pakistan’s exports to China had been eroded. Pakistan has also been concerned over not having been 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. It was in this backdrop, the Secretary Commerce decided to himself lead the negotiations with the Chinese Vice Minister as his counterpart.

After two days of negotiations, Chinese side agreed to address the major concerns of Pakistan side regarding preference erosion for Pakistani exports and meaningful market access during the 2nd phase.

In this regard Pakistan shared a list of around 70 high priority items of its export interest for immediate market access, which the Chinese side agreed to consider favourably. These tariff lines constitute more than 80% of Pakistan’s current exports to China.

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