ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Commerce, Industries, and Production Dr Gohar Ejaz said that the South Asian country was expected to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during the upcoming visit of an Emirati delegation in the last week of September.
The UAE is Pakistan’s third-largest trade partner after China and the United States. It is also viewed as an ideal export destination by policymakers in the South Asian country due to its geographical proximity to Pakistan which reduces transportation and freight costs.
The Gulf country is also home to an estimated 1.8 million Pakistani expatriates and after Saudi Arabia, the second-largest source of remittances for the South Asian nation of more than 240 million.
“Emirates delegation is planned for end September to finalize the FTA between Pakistan and UAE,” Ejaz said, adding the visit would be focused on trade, investment, and economy, Arab News reported.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the UAE, Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, said both nations were optimistic about signing the agreement, officially known as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), during the upcoming visit.
“There are some issues which are being negotiated and we would like to finalize the deal when they come,” Tirmizi said.
The UAE had already signed FTAs with around nine countries and was working with Pakistan on it, according to the ambassador.
“A successful signing of the CEPA will potentially reduce trade tariffs that could significantly enhance Pakistan’s income and revenue.”
“Our bilateral trade has increased by 24 percent from last year to this year and after CEPA our market access will increase here for UAE,” he said.
“There are already many significant trade events which we attended and Pakistani presence is increasing in every sector be it food, health food, pharmaceuticals, and tourism,” the ambassador added.