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Pakistan committed to free trade agreement with GCC states

Commerce ministers of GCC countries are expected to meet by the end of August

Gulf News

Pakistan remains fully committed to finalising a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in a bid to step up trade between the two sides, a Ministry of Commerce official has told official news agency, APP.

The report released on Friday also added that a text of the initial FTA framework had been agreed with the GCC, comprised of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, while the third round of negotiations would start after conclusion of a ministerial-level meeting of the GCC countries to be presided over by Bahrain.

Commerce ministers of GCC countries are expected to meet by the end of August where the FTA between Pakistan and the Gulf bloc will be considered a high priority.

A Pakistani Ministry of Commerce official was also quoted as saying that Pakistan and GCC states were committed to promoting bilateral trade and business relations. “Promoting private sector for enhancing trade volumes is a priority for both sides,” he added.

Opportunity

This Gulf News Correspondent has learnt that a draft of the initial FTA framework has already been prepared as early as in March 2017.

Pakistani businessmen hope that the country would have better opportunity to export rice, meat, fruits and also an investment in the agro-processing unit in Pakistan. While the GCC countries would have an opportunity to concentrate on tourism, manufacturing and the services sector of Pakistan.

Private sectors from both sides are expected to play a major role in enhancing the trade volume with the GCC.

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