Karachi:Pakistan and Turkey are time tested friends and their economic ties are based on longstanding and deep rooted bilateral relationship providing economic and political support to each other. There are tremendous opportunities and trade potential between both the countries which can be exploited by the help of Free Trade Agreement (FTA). This was stated by Syed Mazhar Ali Nasir, Senior Vice President of FPCCI in a meeting with the Consul General of Turkey visited FPCCI to discuss the trade related matters. The meeting was also attended by Abdul Waheed, Tariq Haleem Vice Presidents of FPCCI, Zahid Umer and Secretary General of FPCCI Dr. Iqbal Thaheem.
Mazhar Nasir said that unfortunately, the volume of bilateral trade between both the countries has decreased to US $ 675 million in 2017 from more than a billion in 2011. He informed that the in 2011 the export of Pakistan in Turkey was US $ 873 million that has been reduced to US$ 323 million in 2017 whereas the export of Turkey into Pakistan were US$ 214 million in 2011 which has been increased to US$ 352 million in 2017. He said that the Turkish authorities increased duties on Pakistani exports from 6% to 24% which is a great barrier and caused a drastic reduction in the export of Pakistan in Turkey.
He further expressed his serious concern over discriminatory approach on Pakistani exports for ceasing the benefits of GSP Plus by Turkish Authorities which has been granted by them to various countries except Pakistan. He further said that Pakistan and Turkey are also active members of ECO wherein both are agreed on implementation of ECOTA in ECO region which also allows various concessions in duties for enhancement of trade. He suggested that Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) cargo train be made financially viable for the promotion of trade. He also suggested early implementation of ECO Visa Sticker Scheme to facilitate the businessmen of all ECO nations to enhance business relations and people to people contact.
The Senior Vice President FPCCI further proposed to immediately call a Joint Business Council (JBC) meeting between the national Chamber of Commerce of both the countries to discuss the impediments and bottlenecks of FTA and find solutions to remove all non-tariff barriers both side and reduce tariff to the rational level in the best interest of both nation and uplifting the bilateral trade volume to its existing potential. He further added that despite of the fact that lots of work has been done on finalization of FTA but still both the countries have room for joint development and technology sharing. He further said that if Turkish government reduced the tariff the import of Pakistan will be increased in Turkey and it will also lead to establish lots of joint venture in different sectors and transfer of Turkish technology into Pakistan. The Turkish investors would also be able to re-export their products to Turkey from Pakistan.
The Turkish Consul General appreciated the suggestions of FPCCI and said that FTA between Pakistan and Turkey will further enhance and strengthen the bilateral trade relations between both countries. He said that the existing trade volume which is undoubtedly far below the existing potential between both the countries will be increased through joint efforts and close contacts between the businessmen of the two countries. He said that bilateral trade will jump once FTA is finalized. He said that Pakistan especially is an investment hub for the Turkish investors and there are ample opportunities of joint ventures.