Pakistan and China held the 11th round of second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA-II) on March 12-13, 2019 in Beijing. The agenda of the talks was market access of trade in goods, claw back, investment text and customs data exchange.
The Pakistani delegation was headed by Shafiq Shahzad Baloch (Chief Negotiator). Other members of the team included Yasmin Abdul Wahab, Consultant, MoC, Ghulam Qadir, Trade Economist, MoC, Khuda Bukhsh Rind, EDB, and one representative each from Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Textile Division and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
Both sides desire to finalise formalities regarding CPFTA-II before the second visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, which is scheduled in April 2019.
Chinese side has indicated that the items under zero tariffs have been agreed and rice, yarn and sugar have been included in the items prior to implementation of FTA-II. They have also provided assurance to Islamabad that they would procure additional products worth $ 1 billion.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan and China were almost ready to sign FTA-II under the Abbasi- led government but it was delayed due to pressure from the business community. Pakistan required unilateral concessions on 313 items but China was willing to give concessions on only around 55 items.