Dastgir defends FTAs ISLAMABAD: Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan on Tuesday said that in order to make the country’s trade growth sustainable, liberalised trade regime is inevitable.
The minister was speaking at a consultative meeting with representatives of the business community regarding Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Turkey and Thailand.
The minister assured the business community that interests of the local industry will be safeguarded, but trade liberalisation is in the larger interest of the national economy.
He said with signing FTAs with different countries, the newly enacted defensive laws shall also be implemented to protect local industry. Welcoming the process to solicit input to formulate trade related policies and bilateral agreements, business community representatives were of the view that government should also reform taxation regime to improve competitiveness to take advantage of FTAs.
Earlier, presenting the objectives of the meeting, Robina Athar, Member, National Tariff Commission (NTC) and former chief negotiator for FTAs and additional secretary, Ministry of Commerce, was of the view that the over-riding objective of the meeting was to get the pulse of our business community that will help the government formulate its strategy for the upcoming negotiations.
She said, since last two decades, the number of FTAs involving at least one Asian economy has increased by an average of 15 each year.
Within Asia, she said FTAs involving the dynamic ASEAN +6 economies increased 10-fold from 17 in 2000 to 200 as of July 2014 accounting for 72% of the total Asian FTAs.