Pak and Turkey agree to pursue free trade agreement negotiations

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The third round of Pakistan-Turkey Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations was held at the Ministry of Economy, Ankara, from 25-27 July 2016. Robina Athar, Additional Secretary (Trade Diplomacy), Ministry of Commerce, led the Pakistan delegation, comprising officials of Ministry of Commerce, Board of Investment and Federal Board of Revenue. The Turkish side was led by Husnu Dilemre, Deputy Undersecretary, Ministry of Economy, Government of Turkey.

The Consul General of Pakistan in Istanbul Dr Yusuf Junaid and Ambassador to Turkey Sohail Mahmood also joined. The two sides discussed draft texts for Agreements on Trade in Goods, Services and Investments. During the negotiations, matters pertaining to tariffs, customs facilitation, safeguard measures, rules of origin, tariff reduction modality, bilateral investment mechanisms, and services were discussed extensively. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the progress made in the negotiations so far.

Building upon excellent political relations and vision of the political leadership of the two countries to forge a strong economic partnership, both sides agreed to continue to pursue FTA negotiations on a fast-track basis, with a view to spuring development through enhanced levels of bilateral trade.

The decision to initiate negotiations for a comprehensive bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) – covering trade in goods, services and investments – was taken at the 4th Session of the High Level Strategic Cooperacion Council (HLSCC) in Islamabad in February 2015, co-chaired by the Prime Ministers of Pakistan and Turkey.

After holding the inaugural session of FTA negotiations in Ankara in October 2015, the two sides signed the “Framework Agreement” for the FTA in Islamabad in March 2016. Both sides have decided to hold the next round of FTA talks in Islamabad in August 2016.

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