Talks on PTA with Vietnam to be held in November: envoy

APP News Agency

21st Oct, 2021. 12:20 pm

ISLAMABAD: The talks on further progress on the proposed Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Vietnam are likely to take place in the middle of November this year, a diplomat said.

Vietnam’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nguyen Tien Phong said that the bilateral talks on the proposed PTA would be held under the framework of the upcoming “5th Viet Nam – Pakistan Subcommittee on Trade”.

In the subcommittee meeting both sides will discuss the two top agendas of bilateral trade and investment, the PTA and the agreement on investment promotion and protection, the ambassador told APP.

The ambassador said the fifth round of talks under the trade subcommittee will also discuss other issues of bilateral trade and investment cooperation between the two countries.

After signing of the PTA, the talks on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would also be expected to increase the trade volume between the two countries, he said, adding, at present, there is a bilateral trade of around $700 million between the two countries, which is far below its potential. There is a need to enhance the trade volume, with an aim of $1 billion in the coming one to two years.

The main reason for the decline in bilateral trade volume between the two countries, apart from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was the lack of mutual awareness between the two sides, which needed to be improved in the future.

Regarding multilateral trade in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Pakistan’s trade interests with this trading bloc, the Vietnamese ambassador said Vietnam, being an active member of Asean, would play its due role in paving the way for trade with Pakistan.

Asean is a very effective trading bloc of the world and has signed the FTAs with China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand from which all the regional countries are benefiting.

Ambasador Phong said that Pakistan also has good trade and economic relations with the Asean countries, which need to be further enhanced.

The Golden Jubilee of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Vietnam in 2022, would be marked in a dignified manner in which the development of bilateral diplomatic and trade relations between the two countries would be reaffirmed, he said.

Over the course of these five decades, Pakistan-Vietnam relations have been excellent on the diplomatic, trade and economic fronts, he said, adding that the two countries supported each other in every international fora and mutual cooperation.

The trade, economic, cultural and people-to-people contacts between the two countries would have to be further enhanced.

According to the United Nations Comtrade database on international trade, Pakistan’s exports to Vietnam were $136.67 million during 2020.

Pakistan exports cotton, plastic, raw hides and skins (other than furskins), leather, residues, wastes of food industry, animal fodder, cereals, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatics, invertebrates, pharmaceutical products, meat and edible meat offal, tanning, dyeing extracts, tannins, derivatives, pigments and products of animal origin to Vietnam.

Similarly, Pakistan’s imports from Vietnam was $437.95 million during 2020, including the electrical, electronic equipment, manmade filaments, coffee, tea, mate and spices, edibles, vegetables and certain roots and tubers, iron and steel ,rubbers, miscellaneous chemical products, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and aquatics invertebrates.