BEIJING: Pakistan and China agreed to expedite negotiations on China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement-II (CPFTA-II) and stressed the need for its early conclusion.
This was decided in a meeting between Pakistani Minister for Commerce, Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan and Chinese Minister for Commerce, Gao Hucheng in Beijing. This was the first meeting between the Ministers of Commerce of the two countries since negotiations on CPFTA-II started.
The Ministers decided that the Tariff Reduction Modality (TRM) for the second phase of CPFTA would be finalized soon. Mr. Dastgir reiterated Pakistan’s stance that the second phase of CPFTA should be based on the principle of ‘less than equal reciprocity in favor of Pakistan’.
This principle entails that China would give tariff concessions to Pakistan which it has given to its other FTA trading partners while Pakistan may be allowed an adequate time period for reasonable reduction of tariffs keeping in view the prevalent conditions of Pakistani domestic industry.
China concluded several FTAs after signing FTA with Pakistan in which it has offered generous tariff concessions to those countries. Several manufacturing sectors in Pakistan have voiced their concerns over the influx of Chinese imports into local markets.
Dastgir said that Pakistan will ensure the delicate balance between providing requisite policy safeguards to domestic manufacturing and the welfare of consumers which is best served by providing them with cheaper and quality products.
Mr. Dastgir apprised his Chinese counterpart about the problems being faced by Pakistani exporters at the Sust land port. He said that after the completion of China Pakistan Economic Corridor, exports through land route is expected to enhance manifold therefore there is an urgent need to construct a state-of-the-art land port at Sust border.
The Chinese Minister assured Mr. Dastgir to resolve the issues faced by Pakistani exporters at the earliest.
The Minsters agreed to remove discrepancies in the trade data available with the two sides and decided that the electronic data sharing systems would be put in place on both sides before the end of this year which would help to deal with under-invoicing and mis-declaration.