Pakistan is going to raise the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and other trade related issues with Kuwait in a bilateral ministerial level meeting to be held soon in Kuwait. Both the countries are going to hold the third ‘Pak-Kuwait Joint Ministerial Commission’ (PK JMC) meeting by the end of next month in Kuwait.
The third meeting of the JMC is going to be held after a long break of over seven years, as the second meeting was held in 2003 in Islamabad. According to sources, Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) has proposed to the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) a number of proposals for improving trade with the oil rich country, where Pakistani products have a good demand.
Islamabad is said to be interested in holding the JMC meeting as early as possible so that more trade concessions could be sought after the catastrophic floods that have shaken the country’s economy. TDAP, through a letter, has proposed to MoC that there should be joint a business forum of the two countries, which should facilitate chambers of commerce to in exchange of trade delegations.
According to sources the authority was also planning to hold single country exhibition in Kuwait and Pakistan’s commercial consular in Kuwait was busy in arrangements for organising the event shortly. It was also proposed that both the sides while re-energising the PK-JMC should take concrete steps in the light of the bilateral trade agreements/understandings, to enhance the level of bilateral trade.
Pakistan, which has a share of only over $75 million in the imports of Kuwait, was searching for more markets for its products in the gulf country as its neighbouring country India, comparatively, had more shares in Kuwait’s imports. Besides the economic relations between the two Islamic countries, the number of Pakistani expatriates in Kuwait has almost doubled over the past five years, with a total of 153,000 who were living and working in the foreign country.
Though Pakistan was exporting rice, textile items, leather etc to Kuwait, Islamabad is in highly disadvantageous position as far as the trade balance between the two countries is concerned, due to the huge import of oil. Both the countries had ratified the bilateral Trade agreement, which was signed on 24 July, 2002 which provides a framework for promotion and diversification of economic relations between Kuwait and Pakistan.