ISLAMABAD   -    Pakistan and China have agreed to China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement-II (CPFTA-II) and agreement in this regard will be signed on April 28, during the Prime Minister’s upcoming visit to China.

China has agreed in principle to extend duty free access on additional 313 tariff lines under the proposed CPFTA-II and an agreement in this regarding will be finalized during PM upcoming visit there, said Advisor for Commerce, Textile, Industry and Production, and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood while talking to media here.

Flanked by chairman Board of Investment Haroon Sharif, Razak Dawood said that during Chinese foreign minister visit to Pakistan in September 2018 China agreed to Pakistan’s proposal of 313 products duty free accesses but in November 2018 the Chinese side refused to give this facility to Pakistan.

“Earlier when we asked them for the duty free access for 313 Pakistan products Chinese were not ready but now they have agreed to all our demands,”. “I will say that what we have asked for has been given by Chinese,” said the Advisor to PM. After the cabinet approval to China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement-II (CPFTA-II), it will be finalised during the four-day visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China, Dawood said.

Following the agreement it will be forwarded to the concerned Chinese authorities for rectification. However, the minister said that he doesn’t know about the Chinese procedure or time frame of the approval. “It may take one month or three months, I don’t know,” he said.

Abdul Razak Dawood said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would leave for China on April 25 to participate in the 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF).

The details about CPFTA-II have been agreed which PM is going to sign during his upcoming visit to China, said the advisor to the Prime Minister.

Dawood said that in the CPFTA-I there were no correct safeguard measures to protect Pakistan industry but in CPFTA-II the government has put safeguards for local industries.

Pakistan has been provided the same treatment as available to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “With a duty waiver on more Pakistani products the country has now a level playing field with member states of the ASEAN in exports to China.”  

He said under the agreement, apart from textile sector, other sectors of economy like auto parts, furniture, chemical, engineering goods, etc, would have access to Chinese market duty-free.

Razak Dawood said that both countries have agreed on liberalisation of 75 percent tariff lines and 90 percent trade value. “As a result of the agreement initially we are expecting $500 million exports will be increased during next 18 months,” said the said

The government is all set to implement electronic origin data exchange under the agreement which will enable real time recording of trade between the two countries and help curb under-invoicing and ill-practicing, he added.

He said the theme of the second BRF is “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future.” The main purpose is to promote the high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation, which is the common aspiration of countries participating in the initiative, he added.

He further said that the PM will also discuss with Chinese side the setting up of the Eastern Route on the CPEC along with North-South route,” he said.

Chairman BOI, Haroon Sharif said that 100 companies have initially approval them but 22 Chinese companies have either incorporated or are incorporating in Pakistan and relocation of Chinese industry to special economic zones (SEZs) is also on the cards. He further said that a meeting of Board of Approval is likely in the next 21 days to take important decisions related to investment.