Iran, Pakistan to discuss FTA next month: Pak daily

Islamabad, Jan 29, IRNA - A Pakistani English news daily has reported that Iran and Pakistan will hold further talks on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the second week of February 2019 focusing on finding out ways to resolve banking channel issues.

Daily ‘Business Recorder’ citing well informed sources said in November 2017, Trade Negotiation Committee (NTC) comprising officials from both countries met in Tehran for two days to finalise the draft Pakistan-Iran FTA as Iran showed extraordinary interest in trade ties after the visit of Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Official sources told the newspaper that Pakistan would ask Iran to sign Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) aimed at making it mandatory both for Pakistan and Iran to accept each others’ standards. With the signing of the MRA, hurdles in smooth transportation of Pakistan products will be removed.

In order to expedite early finalization of the drafts of FTA, MRA issues and customs cooperation, both sides have already agreed that the relevant sub-committees’ members will negotiate on concluding MRAs texts simultaneously with TNC negotiations.

“Both countries have decided to carry out further deliberations in order to complete all Annexes of the FTA agreement which would complete the technical process of final FTA for consequential approval by respective governments,” the sources continued.

Both parties would also review recent bilateral trade statistics and reaffirm the necessity of formal exchange of trade statistics by their customs authorities regularly in the format which has already been determined.

The sources further stated that during the meeting in November 2017, TNC discussed and negotiated on the FTA draft in goods in a positive manner and in a friendly atmosphere and reviewed it article by article.

An official told the Business Recorder that Pakistan would extend full cooperation to Iran to further deepen trade ties and finalization of different clauses of the FTA.

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