FTA set to start new era in Turkey-Pakistan economic ties
ISLAMABAD/ANKARA - Anadolu AgencyEconomic relations between Turkey and Pakistan will enter a new era with a free trade agreement (FTA) expected to be signed this year, a Turkish commercial official said on March 3.
Ferhat Kavaklı, Turkey’s commercial counsellor to Pakistan, told state-run Anadolu Agency that the agreement is believed to be Pakistan’s most comprehensive free trade deal to date.
“The fifth round of negotiations was held in December. We’re expecting to complete our work and hope to sign the FTA this year,” Kavaklı said.
“Pakistan has the world’s sixth-largest population. There is a great consumption potential in the country, where imported goods dominate the markets as local industry is lacking,” he added.
Kavaklı stated that the Turkish-Pakistani trade volume could be boosted by strengthening transportation networks and cutting tariffs. “Turkish products already have a favorable image in Pakistan. Our goods will be preferred even more in Pakistani markets with the advantages we get by cutting customs duties,” he said.
Many Turkish contractors already have operations especially in dam projects and other infrastructure projects, Kavaklı said.
“There is a clear need for investments in a wide range of sectors in Pakistan, but infrastructure and energy are prominent. Opportunities in the automotive, civil aviation, education, healthcare, transportation, construction, durable goods, and food and beverage sectors should also be looked at,” he added.
In Pakistan, the Anadolu Group, a major Turkish beverages producer which boasts 25 plants in 10 countries, has six factories operating under the group company Coca-Cola Beverages Pakistan Ltd.
Last year, the Koç Group, one of the world’s top home appliances manufacturers through its company Arçelik, active in more than 130 countries, paid $250 million to acquire Pakistani leading home appliances brand Dawlance.
Another Turkish conglomerate, Zorlu Group, entered the Pakistani energy sector in 2006, and since 2013 Zorlu has been operating the country’s first wind power plant. The group inked agreements with Pakistani authorities to construct a total of 300-megawatt solar power plants this January and February.
Atilla Yerlikaya, the head of the Turkey-Pakistan Business Council of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), told Anadolu Agency this week that the Turkey-Pakistan free trade pact would boost economic ties between the two countries.
“First exporting and then investing in Pakistan would be a great horizon for Turkish companies in the sectors where they are competitive,” Yerlikaya said.
“According to the Pakistan Business Council, there is an opportunity to raise Turkey’s annual exports to Pakistan to $12 billion with free trade conditions,” he added.
Yerlikaya stated that Turkish companies need to proceed as soon as possible to benefit from the great potential in Pakistan, where “the doors are open to Turkish companies.”