US denies duty-free market access to
Pakistan while FTA with China is delayed
The Trump administration has turned down Pakistan’s demand
for duty-free market access to the US for its products,
disclosed a prime minister’s aide.
“We want duty-free market access for Pakistan’s exports to
the United States, but Trump is a main hurdle,” Adviser to Prime
Minister on Commerce, Textile and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood
said during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing
Committee on Commerce and Textile recently.
The adviser said the government would again try to approach
the US administration after the end of President Donald Trump’s
Pakistan sought the duty relief after the US withdrew
concessions given to India and Turkey. Pakistan is eying to take
a big share of the US market by taking advantage of the
scrapping of duty concessions for the two countries, which are
major competitors of Pakistan in the international market.
Dawood revealed that China had agreed to relax duty on more
Pakistani goods under phase-II of the free trade agreement (FTA-II),
which would be signed on April 28 during the visit of Prime
Minister Imran Khan to Beijing.
He was of the view that internal politics in China had caused
the delay in inking the FTA-II. “The Chinese ambassador told me
that internal politics in China delayed the FTA-II between
Pakistan and China for six years,” Dawood remarked.
He disclosed that the Chinese trade minister was not willing
to offer duty concessions on the export of 313 Pakistani goods,
but the Chinese foreign minister and prime minister were in
favour of giving duty-free access to such products.
The PM adviser pointed out that the matter had been delayed
for years as Pakistan had approached China in 2014 seeking
duty-free access for more goods. Now, the Chinese foreign
minister and prime minister are ready to approve the package.
“China has agreed to provide duty-free market access to 313
Pakistani goods under the FTA-II like the Asean grouping,” he
said, adding that Pakistan may be able to enhance exports to
China by $1-2 billion because of the duty relief.
He said Turkey had refused to offer duty concession on the
export of leather and textile products from Pakistan. “Turkey
has warned it wants to impose 27% additional duty on the export
of these products. It will result in reducing Pakistani exports
He pointed out that FTA talks with Turkey had failed
miserably and Pakistan’s exporters had also not been able to
explore the potential of Indonesian markets, though Jakarta
offered concessions on 20 products.