(20 September 2015)
Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) on Sunday supported the decision of the government to review and alter Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China and trade deals all other countries according to the national interest and aspirations of the business community.
The FTA with China that operationalised in 2007 is heavily tilted in favour of China which is against the national interests as the deal has resulted in deficit of 4.8 billion dollars in one year, it said.
Pakistan exports stands at $2.2 billion while it import goods worth $7 billion calling for urgent reconsideration, said PBIF President and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain while talking to Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President of Pakistan Economy Watch.
He said that local industry has paid a heavy price for the incompetence of commerce officials who negotiated the deal while some sectors including plastic, rubber, shoes, clothing, textiles, fans, tyres, etc. were worst hit.
Moreover, local market was flooded with the substandard machinery and parts negatively impacting local manufacturing and output, he added.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that under invoicing has also taken tool on the economy therefore government should establish a commission to review all trade agreements with friendly countries and recommend changes.
He said that Pakistani exporters have not found satisfactory foothold in Chinese market owing to lack of value addition while the government will have to reconsider tax structure and cost of energy.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that trade deals have only benefited the officials of commerce ministry on the cost of country which must be probed.
Not a single trade deal including those signed with Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri-Lanka have benefited Pakistan; we don’t need deals which are detrimental to the national economy, he said, adding that TDAP should also be held accountable, he said.
Unprecedented development in China has increased standard of living of masses and high salaries have left many industries uncompetitive which wants to relocate to Pakistan which must be facilitated, he demanded.