Pakistan losing Chinese market after Beijing’s trade deals

Published: August 4, 2015
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP Pakistan underlined the need of boosting exports to China by encouraging all sectors that fell within the purview of FTA and sought to enhance facilities and concessions on high value-added products. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is losing its margin of preference in the wake of free trade deals signed by China with different countries, especially the member states of Asean grouping, after a similar agreement with Pakistan.

The concern was raised on Monday at the start of the fifth round of negotiations for the second phase of the Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement held to define accepted standards for trade between the two countries.

The talks are aimed at assessing the performance of economies of the two sides under the trade agreement, signed in 2006, and proposing necessary changes for mutual benefit.

Pakistan’s delegation for the three-day talks was headed by Ministry of Commerce Additional Secretary Robina Ather and comprised officials of the Federal Board of Revenue, Ministry of Industries, Ministry of Textile Industry and Ministry of National Food Security and Research.

Read: Pak-China trade increased to $12 billion, says Weidong

The Chinese team was led by Yao Wenliang, Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Commerce. Other delegates included officials from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and departments of customs and quality supervision.

An official of the commerce ministry said China had negotiated low tariffs with the nations it had inked FTAs after Pakistan and the ministry was now also seeking to revise the previous deal with Beijing with further tariff cuts.

On the first day, the two sides discussed diverse issues such as tariff reduction modalities, trade in services and enhancing cooperation for investment in different fields. They also talked about sanitary and phytosanitary rules and technical barriers to trade, electronic data sharing and customs-related matters. Other obstacles to trade also came up for review.

Pakistan underlined the need of boosting exports to China by encouraging all sectors that fell within the purview of FTA and sought to enhance facilities and concessions on high value-added products.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Pakistan’s lead negotiator Robina Ather said the two countries had already agreed to revise tariff modalities according to which Pakistan would not offer China all those concessions that would be provided by the latter.

She said it would also not be necessary for Pakistan to give concessions in the areas where it had given its consent in the previous FTA. Apart from this, Pakistan can withdraw the concessions in certain sectors offered previously.

According to her, there was zero tariff on certain Pakistani commodities but the facility could not be utilised and could be replaced with a new one comprising products that have a good potential for exports to China.

Earlier, in the fourth round of talks, the two countries made a big headway in the banking sector and agreed to ease the conditions for opening bank branches in each other’s territory.

For setting up a branch, the asset requirement will be reduced to $15 billion from $20 billion for all Pakistani banks at the end of the year prior to the submission of an application.

Read: ‘CPEC will strengthen trade and investment’

These banks can also run their operations in Chinese currency renminbi after one year of opening in China, down from the previous condition of three years. The requirement of being profitable for two consecutive years prior to the application has also been removed.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 4th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Milind
    Aug 4, 2015 - 9:40AM

    There goes Pakistan-Chini bhai-bhai relationship down the drain.Recommend

  • Sharath Chandra
    Aug 4, 2015 - 10:08AM

    The all-weather friend seems to be re-defining what “all-weather” means.Recommend

  • Anon
    Aug 4, 2015 - 10:08AM

    Trade agreement are very complex and need to be very carefully looked into before signing them. Does anyone really thinks that the Pakistani government has the intellectual capability moral honesty and concern for the country to do that?Recommend

  • SuperNeo
    Aug 4, 2015 - 10:19AM

    Dear Anon,
    Only person in Pakistan with this kind of intellectual mind died on may 10 few years back.Recommend

  • EAGLE STRIKE
    Aug 4, 2015 - 10:45AM

    Look at the indians here, as usual losers and desperate trolls. Even though it has nothing to do with their indi country.Recommend

  • vicktor d'souza
    Aug 4, 2015 - 11:00AM

    @Anon: Pakistani negotiators should maybe start to wobble their heads like Indians when they negotiate to get the better deal, and more importantly, understand what they are dealing in..?Recommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 4, 2015 - 11:45AM

    @EAGLE STRIKE:
    why you are worried about Indians,do you have some genuine arguments to put to them or counter them,If no then then stop calling others loosers.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 4, 2015 - 11:52AM

    @EAGLE STRIKE:
    Indians are very fierce negotiators who never allowed the Chinese,US and EU or western trade policies to get over them.They single highhandedly protects their domestic national interest.Even last year India alone blocked WTO TF agreement,just yesterday won the patent war against UK laboratory on hair loss formula,won patent war on evergreening against Big Pharma campaign against India on Glivec,won trade war against US on steel and solar on WTO etc etc.Recommend

  • Aug 4, 2015 - 12:41PM

    For China Pakistan is just a colony. China knows how to deal with Pakistan. Thanks to corrupt politicians and corrupt system.Pak leaders are least concerned about their Awam.I am shocked to see no comments from Pak China friendship club.China is taking full advantage of 36 billion dollar investment and corrupt Pak leaders. Is this trade deal sweeter than Honey or bitter than Neem?Recommend

  • jb
    Aug 4, 2015 - 12:52PM

    $45bln hard cash investment which is already coming in for those involved in the projects. That “all weather” enough for you? :DRecommend

  • Hella
    Aug 4, 2015 - 12:59PM

    Does it really matter. Pakistan is a colony of China now as it was a U.S. and British colony in the past. Just as Pakistan, in the past, has even given away Kashmir territory in its possession to China it will now give away its economic prosperity and political freedom to China.Recommend

  • Vectra
    Aug 4, 2015 - 1:40PM

    I am surprised when China announced $46 billion in pakistan,actually surprised not by China’s decision to invest but by the friendship brigade of China-Pak dosti bragging India kepping CPEC as a base.Man $46 billion is no joke its a very big amount and no country will throw it away just like that especially when China itself need that more to inject in it stock to save them from further crashing.Even when WB gives a mere $500 million as a loan it is doing intense negotiation on loan matters and recovery and pakistanis think China will just give it because it likes pakistan but the fact is China doesn’t like pakistan.It is using pakistan as a toy in a games of Great Powers striving for global influence among each others.Just yesterday there was a report published in Japan Times which was later picked up by Indian media that China PLA considers Taiwan and Vietnam as a threat to itself and its airspace but it is more worried about the threats to it mainly from more powerful players India,US and Japan and seek more muscle to counter them.Thats how the game is played and pakistan is not even in the game but is allowing itself to be used by China just like it allowed Saudi and US.Recommend

  • Pankaj
    Aug 4, 2015 - 2:03PM

    Right for Pakistan to understand that no country compromises its interest for other’s sake no matter how big IRON FRIEND you are. Stop handing over your country from one hand to another hand. Stop expecting aid and help from others. Until unless you won’t be self reliant no body will take you seriously.Recommend

  • z
    Aug 4, 2015 - 4:27PM

    Dear Indian, please don’t worry about Pakistan and stop pretending a well wisher of it. We know very well who you are! Recommend

  • Qasim
    Aug 4, 2015 - 5:57PM

    Came for the jumpy Indians in the comments section…

    NO wonder none of your neighbors like you. Even tiny little Nepal kicked y’all out, after the funny stuff Indians were doing in the name of earthquake relief.Recommend

  • Ram Dargad
    Aug 4, 2015 - 6:43PM

    @Milind:
    Sharath Chandra
    Such negative comments show your obsession of Pakistan. Suggest we Indians avoid commenting in Pakistani media on issues not concerning us and restrict ourselves to countering anti-India propaganda. Recommend

  • mahakaalchakra
    Aug 4, 2015 - 8:25PM

    @EAGLE STRIKE:

    Alerting the neighbor of hidden dangers is a sacred duty of a good neighbor. Chaos in Pakistan is going to spill over to India, not China as there is hardly any people to people contact of Pakistani Muslim awam with Chinese public who are vastly unbelievers unlike 97% of Pakistanis who consider Islam as their way of life.Recommend

  • kamran Choudhry
    Aug 4, 2015 - 8:37PM

    Our brotherly relationship with China is military/security centric. When it comes to trade China is 100% a fierce capitalist, self-centered and we should recognize it. To sell to China we must be competitive. Look at our products in our own markets. Most of those are of poor quality and cannot compete in the international market. My suggestion to our industry and government leaders is do not beg China or any country for that matter for trade liberalization but introduce technological innovations and be competitive to win in the free market economy. Recommend

  • Babloo
    Aug 5, 2015 - 12:33AM

    China says to Pakistan
    “Listen to me and do as I say or else India ‘tumhay kha jayega’.

    Pakistan says “Ji Hazoor’Recommend

  • Kris
    Aug 5, 2015 - 9:10AM

    Wait a little longer and see what happens when US-Iran relationship improves, Chhabar port to Afghanistan is fully operational.Recommend

  • Milind
    Aug 5, 2015 - 10:54AM

    @Ram Dargad – ” Suggest we Indians avoid commenting in Pakistani media on issues not concerning us and restrict ourselves to countering anti-India propaganda.”

    Pakistanis did gloat over friendship with China to spite us…. But anyway, your point is valid and taken…Recommend

  • Aug 5, 2015 - 3:58PM

    an Emotional and a businessman cant not be true friend. emotional will keep on sacrificing, businessman will keep on minting money.Recommend

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