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Deals inked for export of $325m worth of goods to China

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Thursday signed over three-dozen trade pacts for exporting $325 million worth of goods to Beijing, aimed at addressing private sector’s concerns about adverse implications for their businesses of government-to-government trade deals.The signing ceremony for the Pakistan-China Trade Cooperation Projects was held in Islamabad in which 18 Chinese companies signed about 38 trade agreements valued at $325 million.
These agreements would facilitate exports of electrolytic copper, fish meal, seafood, pine nuts, guar products, leather, frozen fresh food, castor, chrome ore, zircon ores, coarse copper, hazelnut, sauces, crustaceans and marble blocks from Pakistan, China’s Department of Foreign Trade Deputy Director Wang Dongtang stated.Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Secretary Inamullah Khan witnessed the signing ceremony.China’s Ministry of Commerce has organised visit of a trade promotion group to Pakistan. Eighteen Chinese companies associated with textile, pharmaceutical, agriculture product, petrochemical and commercial trading sectors are on a three-day trip to Pakistan.The 2006 China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has tilted the balance in favour of Beijing, sparking fears among local businesses about trade disparity. Tariff and tax concessions given to Chinese businesses under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have further aggravated the situation.Usually, such business-to-business deals are done by the private sector without the involvement of government departments. The signing of trade agreements showed that China highly valued Pakistani market, the Chinese ambassador stated after the signing ceremony.
Weidong said China was hoping to become Pakistan’s biggest trading partner for the third consecutive year. He said CPEC was progressing smoothly and its completion would address energy supply and infrastructure issues.Bilateral trade between Pakistan and China currently amounts to $19.2 billion, of which Pakistan’s share was a paltry $1.9 billion in 2016, Inamullah Khan said.

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