The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday asked the Government to revisit and negotiate anew the existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs).
The trade agreements should be revisited as they are heavily tilted in the favour of partner countries, it said.
President FPCCI Zubair Tufail said in a statement that FPCCI supports the bilateral trade agreements with different countries to enhance Pakistan’s trade relations but these are to be based on mutual benefits and at the same time protecting Pakistan’s economic interests.
Due to existing FTAs Pakistan’s imports have jumped by 300 percent in the last three years putting an unbearable burden on the foreign exchange reserves. While at the same time our exports are on constant decline thus widening the trade deficit to an alarming level of US$ 32 billion, he said.
He demanded that this situation is not sustainable for long and some effective measures must be taken without wasting any time.
Zubair Tufail further said that due to FTAs and PTAs foreign goods have flooded the local market. Similarity of these products with those manufactured locally has almost destroyed the local Industry and units are being shut down at massive pace causing severe damage to the economy.
Unabated imports have increased unemployment and at the same time it is discouraging investors to set up new industries, he informed.
Mr. Zubair Tufail demanded that in the larger interest of the country the government should form a committee of experts to examine these agreements to identify the clauses, products and agreed tariff concessions which are detrimental to Pakistan’s industry and the economy.
He urged the government to immediately re-negotiate these agreements with the partner countries to amend them appropriately to bring in a balance to benefit all the partners equally and especially remove factors, which are having a negative implication on Pakistan’s trade and industry.