Pakistan and Turkiye on Friday inked the Preferential Trade Agreement aimed at boosting trade in goods between the two countries. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif witnessed the inking of the PTA at a ceremony held here at the PM Office, as the visiting Turkish Trade Minister Dr. Mehmet Mus and Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar signed the accord. Commonly known as Trade in Goods Pact, the PTA includes comprehensive provisions on bilateral safeguards, balance of payment exceptions, dispute settlement, and periodic review of the agreement. Prime Minister Sharif in his remarks termed the agreement “a great moment and a milestone” in the brotherly and historic relations between Pakistan and Turkiye. He recalled that following his official visit to Turkiye in May, the untiring efforts of the ministries of both sides resulted in the signing of the agreement. He said immense business opportunities existed between the two countries and expressed confidence that the accord would further explore the trade avenues in diverse sectors. The prime minister said Pakistan would continue to work with Turkiye on strengthening bilateral ties. Trade Minister Dr Mehmet Mus said the occasion marked a significant milestone which would contribute in a long way to further strengthening and expansion of trade ties. He said meeting expectations of all stakeholders was not easy, however added that dedication and step-by-step measures led to conclusion of the accord. He thanked PM Shehbaz Sharif for his leadership to seal the agreement for the betterment of the two countries and enhancing linkages between their business communities. Syed Naveed Qamar hoped the PTA between Pakistan and Turkey would open up new opportunities to boost bilateral trade across various sectors. He said Pakistan also looked forward to working towards materializing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Turkiye. He stressed the need to increase business-to-business interaction for strengthening trade and investment relations between the brotherly countries. The key highlights of the trade concessions offered by both sides under the Agreement are as follows: (i) Turkiye had offered concessions to Pakistan on 261 Tariff Lines, which include key items of Pakistan’s export interest to Turkiye from both agriculture and the industrial sectors. Pakistan and Turkey enjoy historical relations, which are growing in different domains including political, defence, culture and education. However, realizing that economic engagement, especially, trade required concentrated steps to improve bilateral relations, the Framework Agreement between Pakistan and Turkiye was signed in 2016, by the Turkish Minister of Economy, Mustafa Elitas and Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce, Engineer Khurram Dastagir. The Framework Agreement laid the ground for gradual liberalization in goods, services, and investment by establishing a Free Trade Area. Under the ambit of the Framework Agreement, a Joint Scoping Study was conducted to identify the areas in which both sides can make progress in reducing tariff barriers to trade. Turkish side highlighted its sensitivity in the textile sector whereas Pakistan highlighted its sensitivities in various sectors such as auto, iron & steel, processed agriculture, dairy, value-added textile, and specific products in the chemical, plastics, and white goods. Negotiations on Pakistan-Turkey Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) remained slow-paced until Prime Minister, Mian Shahbaz Sharif’s recent visit to Turkiye from 31st May to 2nd June 2022. During the visit to Turkiye, the Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar and Minister of trade Turkiye Mehmet MUS a joint Ministerial Statement to conclude the Trade in Goods Agreement based on mutual benefit between the two countries. The Trade in Goods Agreement will help to achieve the strategic goal of bilateral trade of $5b in the medium term. After 19 rounds of bilateral negotiations, the Agreement has been finalized for signing on 12th August 2022. Both sides agree that once the initial agreement creates goodwill and economic gains, both sides can move towards a more comprehensive arrangement. Under the PTA, Pakistan has got market access in 261 tariff lines. Pakistan’s global exports of these products are $5.1b. Turkiye’s global imports in these products are $ 7.6b. Pakistan has offered concessions to Turkiye on 130 tariff lines. Turkiye’s global exports in these products are $23b (12pc of Turkish global exports). Pakistan’s global imports in these products are $6b Pakistan has gained market access in traditional sectors such as leather, rice, dates, mangoes, cutlery, and sports goods; and non-traditional sectors including seafood, processed agricultural products, rubber tubes and tyres, plastics, and engineering goods. The total trade between Pakistan and Turkiye stood at US$ 883min the fiscal year 2021-22 with Pakistan’s exports to Turkiye amounting to US$ 366mand Pakistan’s imports from Türkiye amounting to US$ 517 million. The balance of trade is in favour of Turkiye with a negative trade balance of US$ 151min 2021-22.