Pakistan and Turkey on Friday inked the Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) aimed at boosting trade in goods between the two countries.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif witnessed the inking of the PTA at the PM Office as the visiting Turkish Trade Minister Dr Mehmet Mus and Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar signed the deal.
Commonly known as Trade in Goods Pact, the PTA includes comprehensive provisions on bilateral safeguards, balance of payments exceptions, dispute settlement and periodic review of the agreement.
PM Sharif, in his remarks, termed the agreement “a great moment and milestone” in the brotherly and historic relations between Pakistan and Turkey.
He pointed out that following his visit to Ankara in May, the efforts of the ministries of both sides resulted in signing of the agreement.
Immense business opportunities existed between the two countries, the PM said and expressed confidence that the accord would further explore trade avenues in diverse sectors.
“Pakistan will continue to work with Turkey on strengthening bilateral ties,” he affirmed.
Turkish Trade Minister Dr Mehmet Mus described the PTA as a significant milestone, which would contribute in a long way to further strengthening and expanding the trade ties.
He said meeting expectations of all stakeholders was not easy. However, the dedication and step-by-step measures led to conclusion of the accord.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister for commerce voiced hope that the PTA between Pakistan and Turkey would open new avenues for boosting bilateral trade across various sectors.
He said Pakistan was also looking forward to reaching the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Turkey.
Naveed Qamar stressed the need for ramping up business-to-business interaction for strengthening trade and investment relations between the two sides.
Under the PTA, Turkey has offered concessions on 261 tariff lines, which include key items of Pakistan’s export interest from both agriculture and industrial sectors. Pakistan has offered concessions on 130 tariff lines.
Pakistan has gained market access in traditional sectors such as leather, rice, dates, mangoes, cutlery and sports goods; and non-traditional sectors including seafood, processed agricultural products, rubber tubes and tyres, plastics, and engineering goods. Total trade between Pakistan and Turkey stood at $883 million in fiscal year 2021-22 with Pakistan’s exports amounting to $366 million and imports standing at $517 million.
The balance of trade was in favour of Turkey with a negative trade balance of $151 million for Pakistan in FY22.
The Trade in Goods Agreement will help to achieve the strategic goal of taking bilateral trade to $5 billion in the medium term.
Pakistan and Turkey had signed a framework agreement in 2016, which paved the way for gradual liberalisation of trade in goods and services, and investment by establishing a free trade area.
Under the framework agreement, a joint study was conducted to identify the areas where both sides could make progress on reducing the tariff barriers.
The Turkish side highlighted its sensitivity in the textile sector whereas Pakistan highlighted its sensitivity in various sectors such as auto, iron and steel, processed agriculture, dairy, value-added textile and specific products in the chemical, plastics and white goods sectors.
Later, addressing a reception hosted for the Turkish trade minister and his delegation, the prime minister urged the business community of both countries to explore opportunities in varying sectors, particularly renewable energy.
However, he said the volume of bilateral trade and investment did not reflect the existing relationship, adding that both countries had resolved to take bilateral trade to $5 billion in the next three years.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2022.