A Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Turkey can potentially increase bilateral trade with a direct impact on the emerging geopolitical scenario, said Ahmad Jawad, Secretary-General of The Businessmen Panel (BMP-Federal).
Talking to APP on Monday, Jawad, also a former chairman of FPCCI standing committee, said relations between the two countries have always been good as both nations share the same broader cultural roots.
Mentioning that Turkey, in a short span of time, has registered phenomenal growth in the economic sphere, he said this can be replicated in Pakistan through a pragmatic approach.
In reply to a question, he agreed that there currently exists a trade imbalance between the two countries which can be corrected through the efficient application of FTA.
“We need to remember that Turkey is comparatively small country with a population 80 million and a GDP that globally ranks at 7th position with $858 billion in 2016 while Pakistan is positioned at 40 with GDP of $284 billion despite huge population of 210 million people,” said the senior member of country’s business community.
Jawad hopes that with the new Economic Framework Agreement and FTA, trade activities will increase and achieve the initial target of $2 billion between the two countries.
“The current volume of trade ranging around USD 650 million does not reflect the close relations between both countries and the opportunities therein,” he emphasized.
To another query, he said that seven rounds of negotiations have taken place till 2018 wherein both countries had agreed to reduce customs and regulatory duties by 85 percent, however, the agreement is yet to be formalized.
Ahmad Jawad was also of the opinion that forums of D-8 and ECO Chamber of Commerce need to be used to improve regional coordination and business relations between Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey with a practical proposal.
“In fact, emerging geopolitical scenarios and economic crises have brought the two countries even closer to each other,” he said, adding that it may rightly be expected and close cooperation between Pakistan and Turkey in context of FTA will be fruitful and also ensure peace, stability, and development in the region.
Reminding that high-level delegations from different countries have been visiting Pakistan to renew their relations with the new Pakistani government, he said Turkey and Azerbaijan were the only countries that openly support Pakistan’s stance regarding Indian held Kashmir.
“Turkey has repeatedly demanded, at international level, that the dispute can only be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy and not through the use of force,” he added.