PM to sign FTA 2nd phase with China in last week of April: Envoy

FAISALABAD   –   Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said Tuesday that Prime Minister Imran Khan would visit China in last week of April to sign the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which would help Pakistani products to get free access to 95 percent Chinese markets. Addressing the businessmen at Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) Complex, he said that in the second phase of FTA, both countries would extend their cooperation in agriculture, manpower, health and education sectors as well as elimination of poverty. In this connection, a roadmap would be discussed to enhance cooperation in social sector, besides evolving framework for assistance in agro-industrial sector, he disclosed.

He said that FTA would also help in removing hurdles in bilateral trade between the two countries by providing 95 percent market access to Pakistani products, whereas, Chinese exports would get 68 percent market access in Pakistan. The Chinese envoy further said that during the visit, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) would arrange a B2B Forum on April 28 in China. During the event, businessmen of the two countries would negotiate feasible projects along with technology transfer, he said.

Yao Jing mentioned previous visit of PM Imran Khan to China in November last and said that China would import rice, sugar and yarn from Pakistan to increase its import volume. Though Pakistan has a huge quantity of surplus wheat yet its sale in Chinese markets was very low. Therefore, China will procure 300,000 ton rice and in this connection, negotiation has already been started, he added.

Regarding cooperation in industrial sector, the Chinese Ambassador said that Chinese companies had reservations over taxation policy of Pakistan, however, these companies would be convinced and provided incentives for investment in Pakistani industry in order to enhance  its production capacity up to demand of the day. He told that this regional bloc is consisting of 10 countries.

He said that China had made serious efforts to promote regional trade among SAARC countries but could not succeed due to the complex regional situation. However, China would continue its efforts to expand regional trade in SAARC countries, he added.

About the production of manmade fiber in Pakistan, he said that Chinese government will encourage its investors to setup manmade fiber plant in Pakistan but government will not compel anybody.

Regarding visas, he said that this task is being entrusted to Gerry’s. He said the company had its offices in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore while he would recommend its branch in Faisalabad to facilitate the business community of this city.

The Chinese envoy also termed Punjab as a growth engine of national economy and said that development of Pakistan was directly linked with the progress and prosperity of Punjab.

Earlier, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Mian Farrukh Habib welcomed the Chinese Ambassador and termed Pakistan and China as iron brothers. He said that technicalities between Pakistan and China regarding Free Trade Agreement (FTA) had been signed which would open new avenues of cooperation between the two countries. He said that he wanted to transform Faisalabad as an international city of this region. He proposed that Faisalabad and a Chinese city may be declared as sister cities to promote socio-economic and cultural links between the two metropolises.

He also stressed the need for launching joint ventures with Chinese collaboration and said that it would help Pakistan to promote a culture of environment friendly and green industries in this city.

He termed the CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor) as the flagship of Chinese ‘One Belt-One Road’ project and said that its scope would be further expanded by including agriculture and other sectors in it. Farrukh Habib also proposed a Pak-Chinese Textile Research center in Faisalabad. President FCCI Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain, former president FCCI Mian Javed Iqbal, Shahid Nazir, Khurram Mukthar Engineer Rizwan Ashraf, Kashif Zia, Engineer Ahmad Hasan and Haleem Akhtar also addressed the function. Chinese Consul General Long Dingbin, Attache Chen Yongpei, Attaché Liu Zhan Embassy of China were also present on the occasion.

Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Railways Mian Farrukh Habib and Shahid Nazir presented FCCI shields to Chinese Ambassadors Yao Jing and Chinese Consul General Long Dingbin respectively. Chinese Envoy Yao Jing also presented giveaways to FCCI President Syed Zia Alumdar Hussain while Vice President FCCI  Engineer Ehtisham Javed presented memento to Federal Parliamentary Secretary Mian Farrukh Habib

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