Minister for Commerce Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan on Friday said that Pakistan’s export to Central Asian Countries has been increased during last three years from US $ 19.546 to $ 39.9 million.
Speaking in the Upper House during question hour session, he said Pakistan was not importing Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) sheets from Sri Lanka at a higher price.
He said in fact, these were at a lower price as Pakistan is applying Zero duty under the Pakistan – Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA).
He said Pakistan’s Most Favoured Nations (MFN) tariff for the MDF sheets was 16% while MDF sheets were being imported at reduced rates from Sri Lanka only because of the concessions given under the Pakistan-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA).
Under the 1st Phase of Pak-China FTA (2007-2012), the tariff lines falling under the Medium- Density Fiberboard (MDF) have not been given preferential treatment, he added.
Furthermore, he said, even in the negotiations on the 2nd Phase of CPFTA which started in 2011, no commitment so far has been made with regard to the grant of preferential treatment to the import of products falling under the description MDF.
The minister said that the main reason for not granting concessions to countries like China and Malaysia was to protect the local industry.
Dastgir said that in order to enhance Pakistan’s trade with the Central Asian States, the Ministry of Commerce and TDAP has taken many step.
Ministry of Commerce, he said through Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) organized a Central Asia Trade Caravan / Road Shows in Kazakhstan, Kyrgvzstan, and Tajikistan in May 2016.
The series of events were aimed at encouraging Pakistani businessmen and trade bodies to establish contacts with their counterparts and to create awareness in the Central Asian markets about Pakistani products, he added.
Efforts are also being made to enter into an FTA with Eurasian Economic Union of which Kazakhstan is the only Central Asian member country, he added.
Trade bodies representing the private sectors were encouraged by Ministry of Commerce and TDAP to increase interactions with the business community through exchange of delegations and participation in trade fairs, the minister remarked.