Pakistan, GCC countries to discuss FTA in May

Pakistan, GCC countries to discuss FTA in May

ISLAMABAD: Resumption of negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is on the cards soon.

According to a senior Commerce Ministry official, GCC commerce ministers are scheduled to meet in Bahrain by the end of current month to discuss the Pak-GCC FTA, besides other issues.

Bahrain would pursue other GCC countries to finalize the framework for the FTA, including the mutual trade list, the official told APP here Tuesday.

He said initial work on the FTA's draft was made in the last two rounds of talks, the last one held in 2009, and expressed the hope that the agreement would be finalized in the next round.

Pakistan, he said, was committed to ink the FTA to enhance multilateral trade with the six GCC countries, including Saudi Arabia,Bahrain,Oman,Qatar,Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Replying to a question, the official said both Pakistan and the GCC countries desired promotion of bilateral trade and business relations by involving their private sectors.

With signing of the FTA, Pakistan would earn huge foreign exchange by exporting rice, meat and fruits, besides attracting investment for establishing agro-processing units.

The GCC countries could also explore investment opportunities tourism, manufacturing and services sectors of Pakistan, he added. (APP)