Islamabad, UAE To Ink Free Trade Agreement


Dr. Gohar Ejaz, Pakistan's interim commerce minister, said the South Asian country was likely to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during an Emirati delegation's visit in the final week of September.  After China and the United States, the UAE is Pakistan's third-largest trading partner. It is also seen as an excellent export target by South Asian governments due to its geographical closeness to Pakistan, which cuts transit and freight costs. 

The Gulf country also has an estimated 1.8 million Pakistani expats and is the second-largest source of remittances for the South Asian nation of more than 240 million people, behind Saudi Arabia. 

“Emirates delegation is planned for end September to finalize the FTA between Pakistan and UAE,” Ejaz told Arab News, adding the visit would be focused on trade, investment and economy. 

Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Pakistan's ambassador to the UAE, stated that both countries were hopeful of signing the pact, officially known as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership pact (CEPA), during the impending visit.

“There are some issues which are being negotiated and we would like to finalize the deal when they come,” Tirmizi told Arab News over the phone from Abu Dhabi. 

The UAE had previously inked FTAs with nine nations and was working on one with Pakistan. If CEPA is signed successfully, trade tariffs might be reduced, thus increasing Pakistan's income and revenue greatly. 

“Our bilateral trade has increased by 24 percent from last year to this year and after CEPA our market access will increase here for UAE,” he said. 

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