Free Trade Agreement-II with China delayed

Pakistan and China failed to evolve consensus on second phase of Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA-II) as both sides refused to accept each other’s offer.

The Chinese side was represented by Vice Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen, whereas Secretary Commerce Younus Dagha-led Pakistani team comprised representatives of different Ministries/Divisions.

Pakistan urged for concessions for its textile sector but China did not agree for its proposal, which led to a deadlock-like situation.

Commerce Minister, Haroon Akhtar and other stakeholders opposed the signing of FTA-II until local industry is not satisfied.

CPFTA Part-1 was in favour of China, given their exports to Pakistan are more than $ 15 billion against Pakistani exports to China of a mere $1.5 billion last year.

In the last round of talks held on February 6-7, 2018 in Beijing, both sides conducted intensive discussions on tariff reduction modalities and key requested products, which led to narrowing of divergences between the two countries. Both the sides agreed that the outcome of the meeting will serve as the basis of future negotiations with a view to concluding the second phase of CPFTA in the near future. Regarding 75 tariff lines offered by Pakistan, China requested Pakistan to include the majority of its 1394 key products.

China is also ready to allow duty-free access of 57 items from Pakistan immediately. Pakistan is also willing to extend similar concessions on auto sector which are offered to Thailand.