ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) agreed on Wednesday to negotiate on proposed free trade agreement (FTA) for trade liberalisation and to increase the trade volume between the two brotherly countries.
Pakistan offered Saudi Arabia to negotiate on free trade agreement (FTA) directly or to sign preferential trade agreement (PTA) first for providing mutual trade opportunity in each other's markets, said Secretary Commerce Muhammad Younas Dhaga in a briefing to Arab trade and investment delegation here.
From Pakistani side, Secretary Commerce Muhammad Younas Dhaga headed the delegation which comprised of officials from Ministry and Board of Investment (BOI) whereas Adviser energy, industries and mining Ahmad Al–Ghamdi was heading the delegation from Saudi Arabia side.
Both side discussed the comparative advantages of FTA between the two countries and also to further negotiate on tariff lines for providing mutual opportunity in trade and investment.
During the negotiation, Muhamamad Younas Dhaga said that Pakistan would give trade facilities to Saudi Arabia same as the country had offered to China in FTA and Indonesia in PTA for increasing trade volumes.
Secretary commerce said that that Pakistan wants to increase bilateral trade in the areas of textiles, leather, sports and medicine to increase access in Middle Eastern markets.
He said that Saudi Arabia is member of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and “We are already engaged in negotiation with GCC including Bahrain to increase trade volume with these potential trading partners".
Saudi Arabian adviser on energy, industries and mining, Ahmad Al –Ghamdi also agreed to initiate study and further negotiation of FTA between both the countries for trade liberalization.
He said that Saudi Arabia is interested to increase trade with Pakistan in food items and chemicals.
“We would negotiate on Pakistan's proposal on FTA and experts' studies are needed in this regards to further negotiate on FTA between the two nations” he said.
After the meeting, Saudi Arab adviser on energy, industries and mining told APP that Saudi Arabia was interested to establish oil refinery in Gwadar and his delegation visited the proposed place to work on project. He informed that both of the countries would sign memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish oil refinery and mineral exploration in the current visit of Saudi delegation for enhancing cooperation.
He said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have history of diplomatic and political relations, which need to convert into strong economic and trade bonds.