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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey are to sign Trade in Goods Agreement (TGA) during the visit of Turkish Trade Minister to Pakistan, official sources told Business Recorder.

This was decided during the recent visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Turkey, wherein different bilateral issues came under discussion.

The sources said, initially, it was though that Turkish Trade Minister will visit Pakistan in June but now it is being scheduled at 15-25 July 2022.

“Pakistan –Turkey TGA will be concluded by end June. Turkish Trade Minister may sign TGA in Islamabad,” the sources said, adding that Commerce Division has been directed to interact with Turkish authorities. A Turkish business delegation will also visit Pakistan in June 2022.

During the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to Turkey, the two sides signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to increase trade to $5 billion in three years. Commerce Ministry will interact with Turkish authorities for a follow-up.

Pakistan, Turkey agree to negotiate on PTA in goods

A Joint Task Force will be established comprising relevant politicians, officials and eminent businessmen, to monitor the milestones to be developed to achieve $5 billion bilateral trade and follow-up activities of the VVIP visit to Turkey. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has suggested that existing joint working group (JWG) of Trade and Investment be tasked to perform the above mentioned role as it is the platform for officials only; however, Prime Minister desires to establish a separate Joint Task Force.

The sources said, both sides have agreed on holding the 7th High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) in September, 2022 in Islamabad. Ministry of Foreign Affairs will finalise pending agreements on both sides for signature at the next HLSCC and also review implementation of existing Agreements/ MoUs.

Both countries have also agreed on implementation of Strategic Economic Framework (SEF) and identifying new areas of cooperation in the SEF and making efforts towards sustainability of Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) train project.

It was decided to engage with different stakeholders including business community. However, technical-level discussions among the participating states will be held to address challenges including transit trade through Iran. Ministry of Railways would follow up on this matter.

The sources said, Turkish Airline has requested additional departure points (Sialkot and Faisalabad) and increase of frequency from Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, adding that Aviation Division has been directed to follow up the decisions.

Turkish Airlines has also requested maintaining profits earned in Pakistan in foreign exchange accounts and repatriating it to Turkey. Aviation Division, Finance Division and Board of Investment (BoI) will follow up the issue.

The two sides will look into how Turkey can improve Pakistan’s entire business ecosystem (for example work on trade corridor, TIR, customs, banking system, digital economy). Turkish side mentioned that being a member of the EU they have an advanced customs system. The two sides will discuss how Turkey can benefit from China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Planning Commission/ BoI will follow up the decision.

Two sides will also explore cooperation in agro-tech and water-tech. BoI/ Ministry of National Food Security/ Ministry of Water Resources/ Ministry of Science and Technology will follow up.

Turkish company Samsun Makina will explore opportunities for providing desalinated water to Karachi; Maarif Foundation has requested land allocation in additional cities and consultation/ follow-up in this regard would be done by the Ministry of Education.

Govt of Sindh/ Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (Karachi Water and Sewerage Board) would also follow up the issue.

Health sector: (i) Pak-Medica, Health and Cosmetics Exhibition & Forum will be held in Pakistan in October 2022 (Prime Minister and Turkish Health Minister to participate); (ii) A health delegation will visit Pakistan in June/July to do ground work for the Pak Medica Exhibition & Forum (Ministry of National Health Coordination/ Punjab Health Department will follow up); (iii) Turkey has offered Pakistan 3 million Sinovac – 0.5 million to 1 million BioNTech – 0.5 million Turkovac and 20 ventilators (Ministry of National Health Coordination will follow up).

Turkish company (Havelsan) in charge of digital program of PKLI will expedite its work (Ministry of National Health Coordination/ Punjab Health Department to follow up). Pakistan needs advice and expertise in cold chain storage and distribution. JWG on Health will have in-depth deliberations to rejuvenate bilateral health cooperation.

M/s Siyalkalem will give proposal on hydel, solar and wind power. For discussion on low-cost housing – a Siyalkalem delegation will visit Pakistan.

M/s Arcelik will prepare a plan for development of technology sector. BoI/ Ministry of Energy/Ministry of Commerce/ Ministry of Science and Technology with take follow up with the company.

Minister for Commerce has invited M/S Zorlu to give a proposal on power distribution. Zorlu has a power distribution company which it can bring to Lahore (BoI/ Ministry of Energy to follow up/ NEPRA & CPPA to be consulted).

M/s Zorlu can bring electric vehicle (EV) facilities to Pakistan. Ministry of Science and Technology/ Ministry of Energy will follow up.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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