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Pakistan sings FTA with China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka so far

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Commerce and Textile Muhammad Pervaiz Malik on Tuesday informed the Senate that Pakistan has signed bilateral Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with China, Malaysia and Sri Lanka so far.

Replying to various questions during Question Hour, the minister said in China Pakistan FTA (CPFTA), both sides had already started negotiations for the second phase of FTA since 2012.

The 8th round of negotiations under second phase was held in September, 2017, wherein Pakistan again raised the matter of erosion of preferences due to other trade agreements signed by China, he said. He said in response, Chinese side agreed to favourably consider the elimination of tariff on Pakistan’s priority items.

The minister said the government has announced numbers of incentive for the growth of textile sector which have positive results.

About the incentives, the minister said sales tax of five export oriented sectors namely textile, leather, sports goods, surgical goods and carpets has been made part of zero rated tax regime from July 1, 2016.

The existing scheme of Drawback of Local Taxes (DLTL) was continued in the FY2016-17, he said.

Similarly, he said Technology Up-gradation Fund (TUF) Scheme for the textile sector has been notified w.e.f July 1st, 2016. The mark-up rates on Export Refinance Facility, has also been brought down to 3.0 per cent, he said.

To another question, the minister said Textile Institute of Pakistan (TIP) was founded in 1994 under the aegis of APTMA.

The key objective was to provide professional education and training in the field of Textile Sciences to young professionals by honing their practical skills with providing them theoretical knowledge, he said.

He said in order to run TIP independently, APTMA created a trust under the name of National Textile Foundation (NTF). This foundation was the caretaker of TIP and looked after its financial and capital needs, he said.

He said the institute has purpose built construction (200,000 sq.ft. covered area) along with a state-of-the-art architectural design on 50 acres of land located on the National Highway, about 40 Kms from the Karachi city centre.

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