Pak-China FTA a source of frustration for business community: IWCCI

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Women’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IWCCI) on Saturday said that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and China is a source of frustration and disappointment for the business community.

The deal has resulted in losses to the tune of billions of dollars to the economy, therefore, it should be improved or scrapped as China seems unwilling to address Pakistan’s concerns, it said.

Masses are paying the price for the incompetence of bureaucracy which drafted the deal and the time has come for Pakistan to withdraw from the agreement, said, IWCCI Founder and President Samina Fazil.

She said that Pak-China FTA should be amended or scrapped without further delay as it is heavily tilted towards Beijing resulting in heavy losses to the country.

After the FTA, Chinese exports have jumped from $3.5 billion to over $16 billion making China Pakistan’s biggest trading partner while Pakistani exports have increased negligibly.

Moreover, the trade gap has surged from $2.9 billion to over $32 billion which has created resentment and uncertainty in the business community.

The business leader said that the share of Chinese imports in the non-oil sector has surged to 36 per cent while China has signed trade deals with other countries making the FTA with Pakistan futile.

The negotiations to finalise the FTA with China that began in 2012 remain inconclusive. The FTA signed in 2006 has left Pakistani exporters at a disadvantage against Chinese competitors which is evident from the fact that Pakistan’s trade deficit with China tripled between 2012 and 2017.

China can absorb all the exports of Pakistan which are not more than $20 billion, she noted.

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