Negotiating Team on FTA with Thailand must address concerns of local industry: Khurram Dastgir

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Trade regime with India unchanged despite diplomatic tensions: Khurram

ISLAMABAD, Nov 9 (APP):Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan on Wednesday directed the negotiating team on Free Trade Agreement (FTA ) with Thailand that they must address concerns of local industry in different sectors.
He said that that as per vision of the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to access non-traditional trade markets of the world, liberalized trade environment would ensure sustained economic growth for Pakistan.
This was stated by Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan while chairing a briefing here on the status of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations underway with Thailand.
The 5th round of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations would be held from 15-18 November, 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand.
The trade volume between Pakistan and Thailand was $952 million at the end of 2015-16, in which Pakistan exports were $107 million and imports were $845 million.
The exportable items to Thailand currently are fish and fish preparations, cotton fabrics for women, paper and paper board, raw cotton, cotton yarn, leather, medical and pharmaceutical products, the material of animal origin, medical and surgical instruments, chemical element and compounds.
Speaking to the negotiating team, the minister was of the view that while negotiating FTA with Thailand, Pakistan is also looking to access a huge untapped market of the whole East Asian Region.
From the same region, the minister added, Pakistan had already concluded successful FTAs with Malaysia and Indonesia.
The minister also directed the negotiating team to remove concerns of the local industry in different sectors and also team up with the Federal Board of Revenue to take joint position during next round of the FTA negotiations with Thailand.
Earlier, Taimur Tajammal, Joint Secretary (FT-1) and also the chief negotiator on the FTA, briefed the meeting on the state of negotiations with Thailand.
He told that Pakistan-Thailand Trade Negotiating Committees (PATHTNC) have held four rounds of negotiations since September 2015.
“The committees have discussed matters related to Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary, Trade Remedies, Customs Procedures, Legal and Institutional Issues, and Trade Facilitation during the first phase of the deliberations,” he said.
The second phase of discussion would include discussions on Investment, Intellectual Property Rights, Trade in Services and Competition related matters, he added.
Earlier, Cyprus High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr. Andreas P. Kouzoupis called on Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan and discussed matters related to bilateral interest in the areas of trade and investment.
The High Commissioner also invited the Minister for Commerce to visit Cyprus along with the delegation for negotiations on different investment opportunities.