Our Special Correspondent
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 is tremendous opportunities and trade potential between both the countries which can be exploited with 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.
Unfortunately, Mazhar Nasir said the volume of bilateral trade between both the countries has decreased to $675 million in 2017 from more than a billion in 2011.
He informed that the in 2011 the export of Pakistan in Turkey was $873 million that has been reduced to $323 million in 2017 whereas the export of Turkey into Pakistan was $214 million in 2011 which has been increased to $352 million in 2017.
Turkish authorities increased duties on Pakistani exports from 6 to 24 percent which is a great barrier and caused a drastic reduction in the export of Pakistan in Turkey, he added.
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 for Pakistan.
He further said that Pakistan and Turkey are also active members of ECO wherein both are agreed on the 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 the 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 national level in the best interest of both nation and uplifting the bilateral trade volume to its existing potential.
He further added that despite the fact that lots of work have 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 establishing 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.
Turkish Consul General Tolga Uçak 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 would be finalized. Pakistan especially is an investment hub for the Turkish investors and there are ample opportunities for joint ventures, he added.