Turkey urges to reciprocate market access

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reiterated its commitment to offer market access to Turkish manufacturers under the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA), but linked it with reciprocal access for Pakistani goods.

Commerce Minister Pervaiz Malik made this offer during a meeting with the Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan Sadik Babur Girgin on Thursday. Commerce Secretary Younus Dagha and Textile Secretary Hassan Iqbal were also present in the meeting.

Pakistan and Turkey entered into the final round of negotiations on the proposed FTA. For Pakistan, the important sectors to seek duty concessions were textile and clothing, while for Turkey auto and chemicals are the important sectors.

Mr Malik highlighted the decreasing trend in bilateral trade between the two countries and said that good relations in emotional and historical ties along with political and economic sphere should also be translated into equally durable and strong trade relations.

Mr Dagha pointed out that Pakistani products could not retain their competitiveness in the Turkish market after the imposition of additional duties on textiles sector and mass housing fund duties on agricultural products.

He informed the Turkish ambassador about Pakistan’s repeated requests for a level playing field vis-a-vis other foreign competitors in Turkish market in the form of preferential trade agreement; Generalised System of Preferences (GSP+) and FTA have not been accepted favourably by the Turkish side.

Mr Dagha also told the ambassador that Pakistan has been willing to extend best offers in trade concessions to Turkey that have not been granted to any FTA partner and now expect the Turkish side to reciprocate.

“The political leadership of the two countries has jointly expressed its desire to conclude FTA talks at the earliest,” added the secretary of commerce.The Turkish ambassador to Pakistan, Mr Girgin, said that all the reservations from the Pakistani side will be conveyed to the concerned authorities. He also agreed that the strong relations between the two brotherly countries must be reflected in bilateral trade between them.

 The commerce minster  said that new potential markets in different regions are being explored for increasing the country’s exports.

The minister said that it was the top priority of the government to boost exports and achieve its trade targets set for this fiscal year

and he would evolve a short-, medium- and long-term strategy for enhancing the multilateral trade with different potential markets of the world.

“After signing the GSP+, Pakistan had increased its exports in the EU in different sectors,” he said. “Pakistan has one of the most attractive investment regimes in the world with a priority to facilitate the foreign investors and we are committed to finalise the FTA with Turkey and Thailand for promoting trade ties,” he said.