ISLAMABAD  - High level delegations from Turkey and Thailand will visit Pakistan on January 17 to negotiate Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), which are likely to be signed within three months.

"Delegations from Turkey and Thailand are coming for negotiations on January 17 to speed up the process and negotiate commodity lists and tariff rates," a top official in the Ministry of Commerce said. Talking about the FTA with China, the official said that Phase-II of the FTA with China was also due.

He said FTA between the two countries was signed back in 2007. He, however, added that Pakistan was desirous to have duty relaxation on 50 products before launching the phase-II. He said that Pakistan wanted relaxation on these products to protect the local market and ensure competitiveness.

Replying to question, he said that currently local market was not in position to compete with mature economies. "We are just coping with energy demands for local market and the market would take some time to boost its production and growth," he remarked.

He was of the view that once the Phase-II of FTA with China is launched, it would bound both the countries to have zero tariffs, however at this stage it would be difficult for Pakistani economy to provide such concessions. He said that China has been giving us good offers to enter in FTA phase-II and both sides also agree on the demand list.

He said, "We demanded unilateral relaxation on 50 different product for coming few years before signing Phase-II of FTA." "We are in consultation with exporters, chambers including all stakeholder to involve them with policy dialogues and getting their inputs in Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with these countries, he added.

While responding to a question, he said that the government is committed to protect the local market to provide competitive environment for the exporters and market.