Pakistan has shown interest to initiate negotiations with Japan for signing the Free Trade Agreement in order to bolster trade relations.
Relationship between the two countries has made a steady progress since the establishment of diplomatic relations back in 1952.
The proposal for the FTA was floated by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif here on Wednesday during his talks with Japanese Ambassador Takashi KURAI.
Pakistan looks forward to greater level of cooperation with Japan particularly in the areas of trade, investment, infrastructure and energy, said the PM adding Pakistan regards Japan as a close friend and a reliable economic partner.
Nawaz Sharif said that law and order situation in the country has significantly improved as a consequence of operation “Zarb-e-Azb” and Pakistan hopes Japan would review Pakistan’s inclusion in Travel Advisory list in this regard.
Nawaz Sharif stated that both sides need to initiate negotiations on bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA). He pointed out that Japan may also consider a 3-4 year exception for Pakistani textiles under its Temporary Tariff Measures to bring Pakistan at par with its competitors which enjoy free access to Japanese market.
The Prime Minister welcomed companies from Japan to invest in Pakistan that would enhance the capacity of Pakistan industrial sector to produce value added goods.
Ambassador of Japan appreciated Pakistan’s economic growth. He said Pakistan’s perception particularly in Japan has changed to a business-friendly country.
The Ambassador further added that Japan gives importance to investment security, infrastructure and business friendly environment and in all three aspects Pakistan has achieved marked improvement.
Giving an overview of the role played by Pakistan during 1947-51 in lifting the occupation and restoring of Japan’s sovereignty, foreign affairs experts said that Pakistan was Pakistan was known as the ‘tower of strength’ on the Japanese peace treaty signed on 8 September 1951 at San Francisco.
Unlike many Asian countries, Pakistan waived off war reparations to Japan to help build its economy. Pakistan was among the first few countries that had ratified the Japanese peace treaty. Pakistan also played a leading role in Japan’s postwar economic revival in the 1950s by exporting cotton and jute to Japan as textile was the only industry allowed to revive under the Occupation.
The analysts further stated that SCAP-Japan sent its first trade mission to Pakistan in May 1948, headed by R. Eaton.