ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday agreed to conclude the much-awaited preferential trade agreement (PTA) by the first half of 2014.
Understanding to this effect was reached at the conclusion of the 6th round of official-level talks on Pak-Turk PTA here.
Both countries started deliberations on closer trade ties in 2004, but failed to conclude PTA because Ankara was obligated by EU’s Customs Union not to offer duty reduction on industrial goods.
Despite limited scope for Pakistani products in Turkish market Ankara in 2011 imposed 18 per cent additional duty on import of fabrics/made-up textiles and 27 per cent additional duty on garments from Pakistan.
An official source told Dawn that Islamabad has asked Ankara to lift additional protective duties on fabric and garments imports from Pakistan. At the same time, the quantity based restriction on exports of rice was also raised with the visiting Turkish delegation, added the official.
Minister of State for Commerce and Textile Industry Khurram Dastgir Khan and Turkish Minister for Economy Mehmet Zafer Çaglayan represented their respective countries. Both the ministers agreed to conclude the PTA at the earliest.
According to the official source, the revised Turkish offer list for concession on tradable products, received recently, extended limited concessions only on 79 product lines, as against Pakistan request list covering 278 tariff lines. The Turkish offer list, according to the source was quite conservative, both in terms of the product coverage and the quantum of tariff concessions being offered to Pakistan.
Turkey, however, stressed opening up of Pakistan’s automobile and pharmaceutical sectors whereas the full list forwarded include 717 tariff lines for concessions. The official said Pakistan has offered tariff concessions on 404 of the 717 tariff lines.
To make the PTA meaningful, Pakistan has demanded abolishing of normal tariff as well as additional duties on export of agriculture and food products to Turkish market.
Mubarak Zeb Khan
Agriculture, Agriculture in Pakistan,