Safeguards put in place to protect local industry: Razak Dawood

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ISLAMABAD, Apr 25 (APP):Unlike in China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA) Phase-I, a comprehensive safeguard mechanism has been put in place in the CPFTA Phase-II, scheduled to be signed on Sunday April 28 in Beijing, to protect the local industry of the country, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood, said.

“There were no safeguard measures in proper sense in CPFTA-I, now these have been put in place to protect the local Industry,” the adviser, who is accompanying the prime minister in his China visit, said while talking to APP.

He said that under the CPFTA-II, a ‘Sensitive List’ comprising 1700 items has been provided to safeguard the local industry, adding that export access into Chinese markets and import protection were the hallmarks of the new trade agreement.

He said that the safeguard measure would also be utilized to save any industry in case it faces damages while duties could also be imposed under this mechanism in case balance of payment problems faced by the country.

The adviser said, after signing the second phase of CPFTA, Pakistan’s exports to China would increase by $500 million within a few months, while the trade volume would keep on increasing in years to come.

Under the CPFTA-II, Pakistan would get market access at par with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), hence provide a level playing field for country’s exports to compete in the Chinese market.

He said, under the FTA, Pakistan would get duty free access on 313 tariff lines, hence this gives an opportunity to Pakistani exporters to boost trade in different products including textiles, chemicals, engineering, fisheries, food items, footwear, plastics and agriculture product.

The adviser said that these 313 tariff lines cover around $40 billion Chinese imports, creating a great opportunity for Pakistani traders to tap this potential.

However, he added, signing CPFTA with China was not sufficient to exploit the trade potential between both side, adding that there was need to take more measures to promote bilateral trade and economic relations.

Dawood said, improving trade balance was the top priority of the government, adding that around 380 Chinese investors would engage with local investors for Joint Ventures and for increasing business to business cooperation between the both sides.

He said that after the trade rivalry between United States and China, there would be a huge opportunity for Pakistan to get more access in Chinese market.

Through the modern digital ways, electronic data exchange would also be shared for stopping the under invoicing after CPFTA, he told APP.

He said that since Pakistan provided conducive business environment, the government wanted Chinese investors to invest in the country in different sectors and export their products to world markets including potential African market.

Replying to a question, he said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game-changer project between both nations. He said that agreement on a Special Economic Zones (SEZs), would also be signed during PM’s China visit.

He said now the both sides had agreed to enhance the SEZs from 7 to 10 for increasing the industrial cooperation.