A senior official in the commerce ministry revealed that the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) has agreed to start a preferential trade agreement with Pakistan with an aim to double the trade volume with a group of countries.
This is achieved through a year-long effort with the EFTA countries that include Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein.
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The official said, “We have received a formal intimation from the EFTA secretariat that ministers of the bloc agreed to continue the discussion with Pakistan with the possibility of future free trade agreement (FTA).”
A suggestion given by bloc is to engage more in a scoping exercise. Under the proposed preferential treaty EFTA can offer tariff concessions on industrial goods.
In 2017 the EFTA-Pakistan value of trade reached $573 million. This includes imports and export. The import of Pakistan goods reached $218m while export was $355m.
Pakistan exports included textiles and apparel articles while the imports included pharmaceutical products, machinery, and watches.
In October 2017, Pakistan and EFTA held their first meeting of the joint committee in Geneva, Switzerland.
In the last decade goods trade has grown between Pakistan and EFTA. The main export products were clothes, woven material, knitted apparel, and accessories. Other exported textile articles included worn clothing and textile articles like rags, leather articles, animal gut, games, kids toys, and sports equipment.
In the last 5 years import from EFTA increased at 10.4% as the major products imported included pharmaceutical goods, machinery, mechanical applications & electrical machinery, optical, medical, surgical instruments, clocks and watches, gadgets and other equipment.