ISLAMABAD: Unlike phase-l of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA), a comprehensive safeguard mechanism has been put in place for phase-ll. The agreement is scheduled to be signed on April 28 in Beijing and is expected to protect the local industry of the country, said Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood.
“There were no safeguard measures in the proper sense in CPFTA-I, now these have been put in place to protect the local industry,” remarked the adviser, who is accompanying the prime minister in his visit to China. Under CPFTA-II, a ‘sensitive list’ comprising 1,700 items has been provided to safeguard the local industry, as export access into the Chinese markets and import protection were hallmarks of the new trade agreement, Dawood told APP.
The safeguard measure would also be utilised to save any industry in case it faces damages, while duties could also be imposed under this mechanism in case balance of payment problems arise, he remarked.
The adviser said that after signing the second phase of CPFTA, Pakistan’s exports to China would increase by $500 million within a few months, while the trade volume would continue to increase in the years to come. Under the CPFTA-II, Pakistan would get market access at par with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The PM aide said that under the FTA, Pakistan would get duty-free access on 313 tariff lines, which will cover around $40 billion Chinese imports.
However, he said, signing CPFTA with China was not sufficient to exploit the trade potential between both side, adding that there was a need to take more measures to promote bilateral trade and economic relations, he added.
Through modern digital ways, electronic data would also be exchanged for stopping under-invoicing under CPFTA, Dawood disclosed. He said that since Pakistan provided a favourable business environment, the government wanted Chinese investors to invest in different sectors and export their products to world markets, including potential African markets.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2019.