Pakistan eager to finalize Pak-Turkey free trade agreement

Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved the proposed draft Plan of Action presented to him by the Economic Affairs Division regarding Pakistan Turkey Free trade agreement (FTA) and has issued directives to the relevant authorities to begin negotiations with Turkey on Pakistan’s draft as soon as possible. It is expected that Pakistan will conclude the FTA by June 2019.
Pakistan and Turkey had agreed to formalize a Pak-Turk Strategic Economic Framework (SEF) during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s official visit to Turkey in January 2019 and, subsequently, committees were constituted to finalize the draft SEF and Plan of Action for implementation.
The proposed cooperation in the SEF action plan by Pakistani side in trade and textile include: (i) grant of GSP Plus status to Pakistan by Turkey, being member of EU Customs Union; (ii) conclusion of FTA by June 2019 on treatment basis of offering lowest tariff on all tariff lines which has been given to any other trading partner; (iii) simplification of customs procedure, electronic data exchange and technical support to Pakistan Customs; (iv) elimination of non-tariff barriers, strengthening cooperation on technical barriers to trade; and (v) early conclusion of Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA).
The proposed investment and industrial cooperation under the SEF includes signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Board of Investment (BoI) and Turkish Investment Authority for cooperation on facilitation and exchange of information on investment as well as joint ventures by Turkish companies with Pakistani counterparts in areas of auto industry, Special Economic Zones (SEZs), food processing & value addition, tourism and hospitality, housing and construction, diesel/electric locomotives and wagons and textile machinery and textile value addition as well as technical cooperation for development, regulation and operation of SEZs and technical support for SMEs policy regime