ISLAMABAD (APP) Pakistan expects to seal Free Trade Agreement (FTAs) with two promising regional groupings to boost the countrys trade performance, Secretary Commerce, Zafar Mahmood has said. Pakistan is to sign the agreements with ASEAN and the Gulf Cooperation Council, he said in an interview here following the conclusion of Pakistan Malaysia Business Forum and the meeting of Joint Review Committee on FTA. He said Pakistan had followed the past track records of trade improvements after signing Free Trade Agreements with countries like Malaysia, China, Sri Lanka and Mauritius. A study carried out by a Malaysian entity also showed both ASEAN and Pakistan stand a bright profitability chance if the deals go through, he said, adding free trade agreements with both the groupings will enable Pakistan to directly tap the immense opportunities in ASEAN and GCC member countries and formal negotiations with ASEAN and GCC will begin soon. Citing Malaysia as an example, Zafar noted that prior to the FTA signing between the two countries in 2007, trade volume was not significant. The FTA, which came into force on January 1, 2008, has improved trade significantly and we expect the same improvement to happen after Pakistan inks the FTA with the GCC, said Mahmood, who was also former vice-chairman of Pakistan Export Promotion Bureau. He said that through the FTA, Pakistan was not the only party to benefit, but also both the groupings. Through the signing, member countries can utilize Pakistan as the gateway to other countries neighbouring the Islamic state, he said. To another question, Mr. Zafar Mahmood said Pakistans exports had grown by 28 per cent and imports had risen by 14 per cent in the last financial year ended June 30, 2011. We are eyeing to export goods worth more than US $150 million to Malaysia in the current financial year ending June 30, 2012, he said. The Secretary said Pakistan still has the huge trade deficit with Malaysia. Malaysia is a big palm oil producer and Pakistan, one of the major consumers of palm oil ... this makes it harder for Pakistan to export more, as it is not comparable with the large amount of palm oil flowing into Pakistan, he said, calling on the Malaysians to explore Pakistan more in order to discover the variety of services that it has to offer.