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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has reportedly requested Turkiye to expedite approvals of Trade in Goods Agreement (TGA) signed in August 2022, well informed sources told Business Recorder. The issue, sources said has been raised by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif during his recent visit to Istanbul, as Pakistani side is anxiously waiting for implementation on it. Both countries have agreed to enhance bilateral trade level to $5 billion.

At a recent meeting in Islamabad Commerce Ministry officials stated that after the signing of Trade in Goods Agreement in August 2022, the TGA has been cleared by Turkish Presidency and is under submission at Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Commerce Ministry argued that as the deadline of the implementation of TGA is approaching (January 1, 2023), the matter may be raised at the level of the Prime Minister so that the process of approvals (on Turkish side) may be expedited, allowing implementation of the TGA by the deadline.

The Commerce Ministry also proposed that discussion between State Bank of Pakistan and Central Bank of Turkiye on currency swap agreement should be expedited as it has been pending since 2021, so as to opening Turkish banks in Pakistan in order to ease transfer of money/ profit cases.

The Commerce Ministry also proposed signing of a MoU between Export Credit Bank of Turkiye and EXIM Bank of Pakistan, at the earliest opportunity, in addition to proposing finalisation of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) between the Pakistan and Turkiye, to facilitate greater market access (in terms of Tariffs and non-Tariff barriers) and encourage greater international harmonization of compliance standards.

PM Shehbaz urges Pak-Turkish collaboration in alternate energy

According to sources, the Joint Task Force, as envisaged during PM’s visit a couple of months ago to Turkiye, has been constituted to facilitate achieving the $5 billion bilateral trade target, adding that Turkish embassy in Islamabad is also on board.

The regular exchanges between DEIK and its Pakistani counterpart FPCCI are also taking place whereas Central Banks of both countries are also in close coordination on financial matters.

The sources said that the issue with respect to ITI train is the presence of Iran, as Pakistani commercial banks are reluctant to issue Form-E to facilitate Pakistani importers. Moreover, there is one freight forwarder from Turkiye, in comparison to 11 from Pakistan, which is causing trouble for Pakistani importers, the sources said, adding that Turkish ambassador has assured to look into the matter. The sources quoted the Finance Ministry as saying that two MoUs have been finalized between the two sides, under the HLSCC, which may be signed at the earliest.

The Finance Ministry, the sources said, is also of the view that the initiation of Currency Swap Agreement is pending with Turkish side, which may be expedited.

The sources said, Prime Minister during his recent visit discussed the issues framed by different Ministries at the top level of Turkiye.

The request made by Turkish Airlines (THY) for opening of foreign currency accounts in Pakistan has been declined by the State Bank of Pakistan as it is not allowed under the rules.

The sources maintained that Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested Ministry of Finance to nominate a Focal Ministry for the draft MoU on consumer protection and market surveillance as it is not owned by any Ministry currently. However, Finance Ministry maintained that contents of the draft MoU pertain to E-Commerce; hence, the ministry of Commerce may be nominated as the Focal Ministry.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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