Pakistan, UK agree to form joint working group for enhanced trade ties
LONDON: Pakistan and the United Kingdom have agreed to form a Joint Working Group to formulate a strategy for strengthening bilateral ties in multiple spheres, including trade and investment.
The bilateral ties were discussed during a meeting between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women and Equality Elizabeth Truss; wherein, the former put forward a proposal for formation of a joint working group.
Following the meeting, the foreign minister told newsmen that the secretary of state accepted his proposal for a joint working group so that the two countries could mutually assist each other in strengthening bilateral ties.
He said by next year, the two countries would complete 75 years of diplomatic ties so both the sides stressed the need to further strengthen the ties, including trade.
Qureshi also invited his British counterpart to visit Pakistan, which she accepted to attend the Fifth Round of Pakistan-UK Strategic Dialogue.
The foreign minister said both sides discussed bilateral ties, Afghanistan, as well as the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), besides the bilateral cooperation.
The foreign minister thanked the UK for continuing the GSP Plus facility for Pakistan, which resulted in improvement of bilateral trade by 32 per cent last year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Qureshi also suggested exploiting the potential of 1.6 million Pakistani diaspora in the UK to enhance trade and investment.
The UK foreign secretary said that the UK special envoy on trade would visit Pakistan to discuss the ways forward with Pakistan’s trade ministry.
The foreign minister proposed that both the countries should initiate discussion on the Free Trade Agreement in what the secretary of state said both the countries could form a joint commission on the subject.
Last year, Pakistan had received record remittances of $4 billion from the UK for which he thanked the British Pakistani community, as well as the UK government for its positive role.
The foreign minister told newsmen that the two sides also mulled over the ways to attract British Pakistani investment in Pakistan.
He also briefed them about his meetings with the MPs of conservative party, as well as the leaders of the Pakistani community during the visit.
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