Australia is uninterested to have a free-trade agreement with Pakistan.
Australia has denied giving preferential market access to Pakistan on the basis that the country has got a very limited basket of tradable goods and services.
The official demand for starting the negotiations on a free-trade agreement—FTA including goods, services, and investment between the 2 nations was made in a meeting with the apex Australian officials in the federal capital on Tuesday.
Data indicates that Pakistan has got higher bilateral trade in services with Australia than in goods. The services import worth $662million in the span of 2016-17, while exports for the same at $137million.
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The bilateral trade in goods is less in volume, but again favours Australia highly as its exports to Pakistan are at $304.6million in 2018-19 while the imports were valued at $206.5million.
As per a source, the Australian delegation bluntly refused to initiate negotiations on a possible FTA between Pakistan and Australia. He said that they were of the opinion that there does not seem to be any potential for a trade agreement.
Presently Australia has got FTAs with Singapore, China, Thailand, New Zealand, Malaysia, Japan, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Korea.
Furthermore, Australia is also negotiating an FTA with India.
The source also informed that Pakistan has also asked for concessions in tariffs on the pattern offered to Bangladesh but the same was connected with the amendment in the Australian legislation.
Pakistan also asked for market access for the export of fruits to Australia. The source informed that Australia has been requested to grant access to the products including kinoo, shrimps’ prawns, guava, chicken, and fish. However, the import of these items is linked with highly stringent conditions.
In the meantime, Australia demanded market access for pulses and grains.