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Pakistan Struggles To Sign FTA With Latin America Bloc

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ISLAMABAD: The External Relations Group of Mercosur will put forward Pakistan’s appeal for signing a free trade agreement (FTA) in early 2019, in order to present a prospect to Islamabad to reduce the trade discrepancy with countries of the Latin America trading bloc.

According to the details it is revealed during a meeting between Commerce Secretary Younus Dagha and a delegation led by Argentinian Ambassador Ivan Ivanissevich that presently, the Ministry of Commerce is struggling to resurrect discussions on confirming privileged and free trade agreements with Mercosur – a trade bloc including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Due to these efforts, the External Relations Group of Mercosur will pass up the matter for examining Pakistan’s appeal in early 2019.

Also, the commerce secretary highlighted the point that Latin America plays vital role in non-traditional markets where Pakistan’s market share was insignificant regardless of enormous probability for exports equally in traditional and non-traditional sectors.

Therefore, to accomplish superior market admittance in the region, the Ministry of Commerce has signed a Framework Agreement on Trade with Mercosur in 2006, in accordance to a plan to ink a preferential trade agreement (PTA) which will later on lead to free trade agreement (FTA.

It is also observed that Pakistan had annual trade of $1 billion with Mercosur countries, and further adding trade with Argentina it will be positioned at $200 million, which can also augment to $800 million.

Moreover, the FTA will play a vital role in providing an opening to overpass the trade scarcity with Mercosur countries. Also, the secretary accentuated and pronounced  Argentina and Brazil profitable markets but Pakistan is mainly paying attention on textile exports.

He also added, “As Pakistan’s appeal is put forward by the External Relations Group of Mercosur, the commerce ministry has strengthened its trade peacekeeping by attracting Brazil & Argentina embassies in Islamabad.”

According to the secretary, Argentina and Brazil are amongst world leaders in agro-food manufacturing and implementation of up to date technology in making modernization in seed making and food processing.

Furthermore, the commerce ministry observes a gigantic capacity of technical support and investment from Brazil and Argentina in agricultural maintenance and food processing in Pakistan.