ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday signed the Framework Agreement, which will be the basis for future negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan and Minister for Economy of Turkey Mustafa Alitaas signed the agreement on behalf of their countries.

The agreement would stipulate the broader outlines and the areas in which talks on FTA will proceed.

The Framework Agreement states that the two sides would hold negotiations for promoting trade of goods and services, intellectual property rights, competition policies and for laying down the mechanism for dispute settlement.

The agreement, however, does not determine the extent of market access that both countries will offer in the later stages of negotiations.

The list of final concessions from Pakistan for the FTA would be prepared after intensive consultations with stakeholders in all sectors of the economy.

Speaking on the occasion, Dastgir said the agreement would further enhance bilateral relations between the two countries. “This agreement offers a unique opportunity for exploring avenues of mutual cooperation and collaboration,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged that trade between Turkey and Pakistan was much below the potential both the countries had, as it accounted for less than 1 percent of the combined global trade of the two countries.

“The true potential can only be harnessed by bringing diversification in bilateral trade, adding value to our products, establishing complementarities and creating enabling environment for businesses,” the minister stressed.

He said that leadership of both the countries wanted that their economic relations added to their prosperity and development.

The minister said that leadership of both the countries was fully cognizant of the economic and trade requirements, adding, ‘There is a tremendous scope for increase in trade between Pakistan and Turkey.

Dastgir said that Turkish investors could benefit from investing in agriculture, livestock, large-scale manufacturing and services sectors.

Speaking on the occasion, Turkish Minister for Economy Mustafa Alitass said that Turkey and Pakistan not only enjoyed brotherly relations, but also had identical views, not only on international politics but also on trade.

He said that both countries could exploit resources wisely for the prosperity of their people and development. In his meeting with Alitass, Dastgir said that today was the era of commercial diplomacy, in which trade was the foremost factor in shaping up inter-state relations.

He said that international trade was becoming an increasingly important contributor to the creation of jobs, enhancing competitiveness and efficiency of the domestic industry.

The minister informed the trade barriers, including tariffs and quantitative restrictions, were being dismantled with a view to promoting cross-border trade.

The Turkish minister highlighted the significance of recent Turkish investments in Pakistan, and said that the next logical step would be wider and deeper trade concessions. He called upon the Muslim countries to focus on setting internationally recognisable standards for halal food so that their shares in the trade of halal food could be enhanced.

He said that Turkish investment in the fields of renewable energy, housing, transport, sanitation and infrastructure would be increased in the near future.

The two ministers launched the Pakistan chapter of All Industrialists and Businessmen Association, Turkish state organisation, which provides support to small and medium enterprises.

The organisation will provide technical support to the emerging entrepreneurs in Pakistan. The two ministers expressed the resolve to finalise the FTA early.