Erdoğan's visit to Islamabad progresses free trade talks
Pakistan said it made substantial progress with Turkey on a free trade agreement (FTA) last week during a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the capital Islamabad.
According to Secretary of Commerce Ahmad Nawaz Sukhera, a delegation from Pakistan's textiles sector will travel to Turkey in March ahead of the resumption of FTA negotiations.
Sukhera said on Twitter that both countries were in agreement to "surmount the issue of being competitors" in textiles by finding ways to "collaborate."
He added that the delegation would seek "ways of joining each other's value chains."
Also, the two countries agreed to conduct a joint survey on a possible FTA, he noted.
"Strong political will have been shown by both the leaderships to increase current trade level," added Sukhera.
Earlier, Pakistan's prime ministerial advisor on commerce and investment, Abdul Razak Dawood, said the two countries would begin talks to finalize the FTA in April.
On Friday, Turkey and Pakistan inked several memorandums of understanding aimed at boosting bilateral trade, economic engagement and cultural and communication ties between Ankara and Islamabad.
Addressing a joint Turkey-Pakistan Business Forum session in Islamabad last Friday, President Erdogan said that the current trade volume of $804 million between Pakistan and Turkey was not sufficient, adding that bilateral trade must first rise to $1 billion and then to a target of $5 billion.
For his part, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said his government would do everything possible to increase bilateral trade and investment.
"Ours is one of most business-friendly governments [in the region]. I invite Turkish businesspeople to invest in Pakistan. I can assure you that we will fully facilitate you," Khan said while addressing the Pakistan-Turkey Business Forum.
Khan also said Pakistan was keen to benefit from Turkey's expertise in different sectors, particularly tourism, construction, healthcare and information technology.
"I have visited several tourist destinations in Turkey. The way Turkey has developed its tourism industry, especially in terms of infrastructure, is something Pakistan can learn a lot from," Khan said.