Thursday, June 14, 2007
EU-South Asia trade: Pakistan calls for equalconcessions
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday urged the European Union (EU) to provide it with a level trade playing field, while also calling for access to EU markets on the same terms accorded to other South Asian nations.
During a meeting between Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Kahn and visiting German State Secretary in the Ministry of Economics and Technology Dr Bernd Pfaffenbach,the two sides exchanged views on bilateral trade and a possible EU-Pak free trade agreement.
Noting that the EU had accorded other South Asian countries – through Preferential Trade Agreements (PTA) – more concessions than it had to Pakistan, Khan stressed that an EU-Pak free trade agreement would be mutually beneficial to both sides.
The German state secretary responded by saying that while his country remained committed to multilateralism, Berlin was prepared to review the need for bilateral trade agreements.
Dr Pfaffenbach went on to say that Germanywould continue to support Pakistan to improve further bilateral cooperation in various domains.
The two sides also noted that the EU-Pak ministerial meeting held in Islamabad last month and the subsequent formation of a joint sub-group on trade had represented a first step towards better trade relations.
In addition, the two sides agreed that the EU Commission’s studygroup would review the situation in South Asia in the light of regional trade arrangements and evaluate their impact on Pakistan.
Pakistan Ambassador to Germany Adif Ezdi and senior embassy officials also attended the talks.