Erdogan’s visit starts today with heavy business-to-business agenda
ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan is set to launch a two day visit to Pakistan along with a huge delegation of business leaders from today (Thursday) with a more focussed business-to-business (B2B) meetings which may fetch exports and imports orders for both sides.
The two days, B2B interactions between the businessmen of the two countries would begin from (today), a senior official at Commerce Ministry told The News. The Turkish President would also address the Joint Parliament session. This will be Erdogan’s second visit to Pakistan since becoming President in 2014. He had also visited twice as the prime minister. The Commerce Ministry official said, over 100 Turkish delegates representing over 60 companies working in various sectors of the economy would hold meetings with the Pakistani businessmen. The business-to-business meetings will cover trade, investment, and cooperation on tourism, military procurement, cooperation in other areas of defense industry to energy, construct on, text le, food, l vestock, import and export, airways, real state, tourism, consultancy trade, shipping, agriculture, jewelry, automotive, construction and production, tractor and engine, casting, paper production, and on-vehicle equipment.
At the official level, he said, six-round of Pakistan-Turkey High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council (HLSCC) will also be held. It is the highest level political consultations mechanism that Turkey has with other countries. The HLSCC works as a joint cabinet meeting co-chaired by the two top Chief Executives from both sides. The HLSCC functions through Joint Working Groups. In the case of Pakistan, six JWGs were formed in December 2010. The meetings of the Joint Working Groups would be held on i) Trade and Investment; ii) Energy; iii) Transport and Communication; iv) Culture and Tourism; v) Education, and vi) Finance and Banking. ‘The JWG on Trade and Investment would discuss all the issues hampering the growth of bilateral trade. Pakistan may also ask for a consensus mechanism paving the way for free trade agreement (FTA) acceptable to both countries.’
The existing trade volume between the two countries has dropped drastically from $1.08 billion to $792 million after the imposition of a protective duty on textiles by Turkey. Previously, the textile exports to Turkey were based on normal tariffs, but later Turkey imposed a very hight 18% protective duty, leading to a decline in the textile exports. Pakistan expected Turkey, being part of the customs union with the European Union, to provide access to the Turkish market under a status similar to the GSP Plus which was however not forthcoming. Instead, Turkey conducted negotiations on the FTA but no progress was witnessed on that front either.