The Advisor to PM on Commerce and Textile Abdul Razak Dawood said on Tuesday that China has given duty-free access to 313 items, and both countries will sign Phase-II of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on 28 April 2019.
During the briefing before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile, he unveiled these developments, the meeting was organized in order to review the import, export and WTO policy, its challenges, initiatives and strategic directions of vision 2019-2024.
The advisor to PM said Pakistan has not accepted China’s demand of duty-free market access, China demanded duty-free access to Pakistani market in return for allowing duty-free access for Pakistani products in China. However, Pakistan has decided to given access on a few items and China also agreed to allow free access on the pattern of ASEAN countries.
It is important to mention that China has allowed duty-free access to 313 items which comprised of $64 billion imports in China. Earlier Pakistan was not allowed to export more than 1 billion dollars on these items, he said.
Dawood further said, it’s now up to Pakistan how well it will take on this opportunity after revising duty free access and FTA, if the country is able to grab the 5% of the market share out of this $64 billion, the country’s exports would be increased to $3.2 billion per year and if we are able to grab 10% market share the exports will rise to $6.4 billion.
According to the ministry of commerce and Textile industry, exports growth is projected to be slower due to slow economic growth, monetary policy and lack of fiscal space but Pakistan is working hard on FTA-II to make it effective for the country. The FTA-II deal would be signed on April 28 with China during PMs Visit to China, however, it would be passed later by the Chinese parliament, the secretary commerce said.
Pakistan’s exports declined by 19 percent during 2014-17 due to global economic contraction, the regional countries also depreciated their currencies including India and Bangladesh. The World Bank also projects slower growth in Asian countries, the committee was informed.
Pakistan needs to enhance its export competitiveness by utilizing PM’s Package, zero-rating for 5 export sectors, low energy costs for export sectors, zero-load shedding for export sectors and better tariffs for raw materials. The new trade policies will be developed by revising the Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2019-24, National Tariff Policy, trade-related investment policy framework and regulatory reforms. It is pertinent to make strategic decisions for future improvements and growth of exports and to minimize imports; he said and suggested regulatory reforms as amendments in export/import policy order.