ISLAMABAD: The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Thursday recommended to the Government to revisit and negotiate anew the existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs).
“The trade agreements should be revisited as they are heavily tilted in the favour of partner countries,” said President FPCCI Zubair Tufail in a statement. He said FPCCI supports the bilateral trade agreements with different countries to enhance Pakistan’s trade relations but these are to be based on mutual benefits and at the same time protecting Pakistan’s economic interests.
Due to existing FTAs, Pakistan’s imports have jumped by 300 percent in the last three years putting an unbearable burden on the foreign exchange reserves, he said, adding, at the same time our exports are on constant decline thus widening the trade deficit to an alarming level of US$ 32 billion, he said.
He said this situation is not sustainable for long and some effective measures must be taken without wasting any time. Zubair Tufail further said that due to FTAs and PTAs foreign goods have flooded the local market. Similarity of these products with those manufactured locally has affected the local industry and units are being shut down causing damage to the economy.
Unabated imports have increased unemployment as the same time it is discouraging investors to set up new industries, he added. Zubair Tufail demanded that in larger interest of the country the government should form a committee of experts to examine these agreements to identify the clauses, products and agreed tariff concessions which are detrimental to Pakistan’s industry and the economy.