Pakistan-Iran FTA draft finalized: Pak daily

Islamabad, Dec 6, IRNA -- Pakistan and Iran have finalized initial draft of much-awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and expeditious resolution of banking channel issues, Pakistan’s daily ‘Business Recorder’ reported quoting official sources.

The daily said the understanding was reached during the third meeting of the Trade Negotiation Committee (TNC) on Pakistan-Iran Free Trade Area Agreement (PIFTA) held in Tehran from November 21 to 22.

The newspaper said the Iranian delegation was headed by Mirhadi Seyedi, Deputy Head of the Export Market Development Office of Iran Trade Promotion Organization while the Pakistani delegation was headed by Bilal Khan Pasha, Joint Secretary Ministry of Commerce and Textile.

The next meeting of the NTC is expected to be held in Islamabad in January 2018 in which FTA which comprises of 26 articles and five annexure is expected to be further expedited.

The sources said the text of FTA was finalized after two days of marathon deliberations between the officials and technical experts. Both parties reviewed the status of the negotiations held so far and the progress made in order to proceed further on all decisions made earlier by the TNC particularly during the 2nd TNC Meeting in Islamabad.

Both parties reviewed the recent trade statistics of bilateral trade and reaffirmed the necessity of formal exchange of trade statistics by their customs authorities regularly in the format which has already been determined.

According to sources, the Pakistani side informed the Iranian side of its readiness for participation in a seminar which would be hosted by Iran in order to increase the awareness of the opportunities available under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for Iranian private and business sectors. Iran will consider the matter and follow it in close contact with Pakistani side.

During the meeting, the TNC discussed and negotiated the draft of FTA in Goods in a positive manner and friendly atmosphere and reviewed it article by article. On the second day of the meeting, the TNC agreed on the preliminary final draft of Free Trade Area Agreement in Goods and prepared the cleaned draft duly initiated by the respective heads of the TNC.

Both sides held preliminary discussions on the base year, HS Digits level, Tariff Reduction Modality (TRM) and FTA in Goods to be finalized in the next TNC meetings.

Both sides reviewed the tentative wish-lists exchanged during the 2nd TNC meeting for deepening and broadening of existing PTA.

The two sides agreed to exchange the final wish-lists by January 31, 2018, with the objective to finalizing those by incorporating them in the Pak-Iran PTA by March 2018.

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