Pakistan will soon make formal request to the Eurasian Economic Commission for starting negotiations on free trade agreement with the 4-nation bloc that includes Russian Federation.
The EEC is a permanent regulatory body of the Eurasian Economic Unions (EAEU) that also includes Armenia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as its members. EEC holds the status of supranational regulatory body and its decisions are binding on the territory of the EAEU member states. The EAEU member countries have a combined population of over 1.8 billion.
Pakistan is exploring Russian markets to boost exports of food products to take advantage of the vacuum created after Moscow banned food imports from European countries in retaliation for sanctions imposed over its actions in Ukraine.
On Sept. 28, a Joint Working Group of Pakistan and Belarus drew a roadmap to enhance and strengthen cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, industry, agriculture research, investment, science and technology, textile, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Pakistan’s Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Belarus is of the markets Pakistan is targeting to boost bilateral trade from the current level of 57 million to $1 billion in the next five years, a Pakistan government announcement said.
He said Pakistan would soon make a formal request to EEC for starting FTA negotiations which will boost trade between Pakistan and the member counties, including Belarus. During a recent visit of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the country, Belarus had assured to support Pakistan’s case of greater market access to EAEU through a FTA.
The two sides agreed to expand the range of mutual trade in goods and high value products. In the services sector, they agreed to boost cooperation in the areas of information technology, healthcare, financial services, transport and logistics.
A Joint Trade Committee will be set up hold regular interaction and its first meeting will be held by the end of 2015. The committee will discuss removing existing trade barriers and setting up commercial bank branches on reciprocal basis to boost trade.