ISLAMABAD, Jan 16 (APP): The Ministry of Commerce Tuesday strongly refuted the news appeared in a section of press regarding Pak-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA) saying that the news is misleading and contrary to the facts.
The FTA Phase II negotiations between Pakistan and China are progressing smoothly in highly cordial and cooperative atmosphere and both sides successfully concluded the 8th round led by Secretary Commerce wherein a breakthrough was achieved in the shape of China’s assurances to favourably address Pakistan’s concerns in Phase II, a statement said.
Pakistan side was able to convince Chinese side to revise the bilateral safeguard chapter of FTA, which would be helpful in protecting the local industry against import surge from China.
Contrary to the impression created by the news headline, the next round is scheduled in February 2018, in Beijing, China.
The preparatory work for the next round is on track and the two sides are frequently consulting each other to reach a mutually beneficial early conclusion.
In order to firm up Pakistan’s position, the Ministry of Commerce has held wide-ranged consultations with public and private sector stakeholders, including sectoral associations, chambers and relevant ministries/government departments and in turn, the negotiations with Chinese are moving ahead as planned.
“It is unfortunate that an out of context news item has been published by distorting facts which may create misunderstanding with an extremely friendly country apart from possible negative repercussions on an otherwise congenial negotiation environment.”
The Ministry of Commerce, therefore, strongly refutes the message conveyed by the news item and urges all the reporters/analysts to exercise caution in such matters of strategic importance.