Pakistan, China special envoys discuss latest status of Afghan peace process

ISLAMABAD, Dec 04 (APP):The National Assembly was told on Wednesday that phase two of free trade agreement between Pakistan and China was likely to come into effect from January 1, 2020 eliminating duty on Pakistan’s 313 exportable items.

Parliamentary Secretary for Textile Aliya Hamza during Question House told in a written reply that the second phase of the free trade agreement was concluded on April 9, 2019 after 11 rounds of rigorous negotiations.

A protocol to this effect was signed by both sides during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China on April 28, 2019.

In phase two, China had offered favorable concessions to Pakistan including immediate elimination of duty on 313 tariff lines of Pakistan’s prime export interest. Pakistan’s protected list of items had increased from 10 percent to 25 percent or 1760 tariff lines.

Under the agreement, Electronic Data Exchange System would be implemented to curb under invoicing and misdeclaration.

To a question of MNA Syed Hussain Tariq, she said phase one was not suitable for Pakistan as there were no tariff lines with zero duty.

Aliya Hamza said the government had not taken loans to stabilize the dollar rate and now its value was market driven.

The exports were rising and according to the latest quarter, exports had increased by four percent while on month to month basis these rose by 14 percent. The current account deficit had decreased by 75 percent, she informed.

To another question fielded by Shazia Marri, she told that the Prime Minister had approved the key performance indicators to monitor and evaluate the performance of the trade and investment officers in Pakistan’s missions abroad.

A committee notified by the Commerce Division was periodically evaluating the performance of the trade officers on the basis of these performance indicators.

She said seven trade officers from countries including Canada, Argentina, Japan, China, Brazil and United Kingdom were recalled during 2018-19 due to their below average performance on the
recommendations of the evaluation committee. There were a total of 57 trade officer posts and 41 of them would be filled through interviews and tests.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan informed the House that Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) had undertaken activities for welfare of citizens in the areas of Karachi where nuclear power plants K-2 and K-3 were still under construction. He told the welfare activities include healthcare and a mobile dispensary that visit rural areas once every week. Facilities of education and drinking water were also being provided. Once the plants K-2 and K-3 would become operational, sufficient funds would be reserved from their revenue stream for uplift of the residents of the areas, he added.

Earlier, Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri took oath from the newly elected Member National Assembly Nawabzada Shahzain Bugti.

Shahzain Bugti was re-elected from the constituency in Dera Bugti, Balochistan after he was deseated due to verdict of an election tribunal.

The Deputy Speaker also announced the panel of chairpersons including Fakhar Imam, Samiul Hassan Gilani, Bashir Virk, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Iqbal Muhammad Khan and Munaza Hassan for chairing session of the assembly in absence of Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

Earlier, prayer was offered for citizens who lost their lives in different incidents in the country.