PBF for enhanced Pak, China trade

LAHORE: Pakistan Businesses Forum (PBF) on Monday called for enhancing China and Pakistan bilateral trade as it would not only ensure economic prosperity but also further strengthen CPEC.

Speaking at an international webinar here, PBF Vice President Ahmad Jawad said, “It’s time China should make economic agreement with Pakistan on the pattern of Iran so that both countries bilateral trade may reach $100 billion in next decade with the parity of level playing field”.

Though Pakistan’s trade deficit with China had declined in recent years, it might still be an important factor affecting the sustained growth of bilateral trade.

Since the first phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement came into effect, bilateral trade volume increased from USD 2.2 billion in 2005 to USD 15.6 billion in 2019 which did not represent their mutual trade potential. However, 75 per cent of Pakistan’s exports to China were concentrated in a few products leading to a large export deficit with China, he maintained.

The Forum VP added, Pakistan had an immense potential in the sectors of mines, mineral, halal meat, textiles and horticulture commodities and China could easily shift its imports towards Pakistan provided China made easier conditions for Pakistani products as a special arrangement in the light of new policy shift.

At the same time, he said, Pakistan should also improve its supporting service systems such as warehouses, cold chain, and logistics to promote the transformation and upgrading of its agriculture and industry.

Jawad stressed the need for promoting intra-regional trade, asserting that government should negotiate its trade deal with Beijing with an objective to promote exports to Chinese markets.