ISLAMABAD: The minister of commerce announced on Tuesday that phase two of a free trade agreement between Pakistan and China was likely to come into effect from January 1, 2020, eliminating duty on Pakistan’s 313 exportable items.
The notification issued by the minister said that the second phase of the free trade agreement was concluded on April 9, 2019, after 11 rounds of rigorous negotiations.
A protocol to this effect was signed by both sides during the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China on April 28, 2019.
In phase two, China had offered favourable concessions to Pakistan including immediate elimination of duty on 313 tariff lines of Pakistan’s prime export interest. Pakistan’s protected list of items had increased from 10 per cent to 25 per cent or 1760 tariff lines.
Under the agreement, Electronic Data Exchange System would be implemented to curb under-invoicing and misdeclaration.
To a question of MNA Syed Hussain Tariq, she said phase one was not suitable for Pakistan as there were no tariff lines with zero duty.
Aliya Hamza said the government had not taken loans to stabilize the dollar rate and now its value was market-driven.
The exports were rising and according to the latest quarter, exports had increased by four per cent while on a month to month basis these rose by 14 per cent. The current account deficit had decreased by 75 per cent, she informed.
To another question fielded by Shazia Marri, she told that the Prime Minister had approved the key performance indicators to monitor and evaluate the performance of the trade and investment officers in Pakistan’s missions abroad.
A committee notified by the Commerce Division was periodically evaluating the performance of the trade officers on the basis of these performance indicators.
She said seven trade officers from countries including Canada, Argentina, Japan, China, Brazil and the United Kingdom were recalled during 2018-19 due to their below-average performance on the recommendations of the evaluation committee. There were a total of 57 trade officer posts and 41 of them would be filled through interviews and tests.