The Express Tribune - 09 December 2019
Pakistan, Qatar to sign trade pacts soon
By Irshad Ansari
Pakistan and Qatar have agreed in principle on a preferential trade agreement (PTA) and a free trade agreement (FTA) to enhance bilateral trade. The agreements will soon be signed after necessary formalities.
Pakistan has also offered to establish a plant in Qatar to manufacture footballs for the FIFA World Cup 2022 as well as subsequent football tournaments.
Nebras Power, a major investment group in Qatar’s energy sector, has expressed an interest in investing directly in Pakistan’s power sector.
The Nebras Power Consortium will take part in the privatisation of the Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki power plants in Pakistan.
It has formally informed the Pakistani government about its interest and hoped that it would promote direct cooperation between the two governments in the fields of energy and power generation.
According to a document available with The Express Tribune, the Pakistan’s commerce and energy ministries attended the 5th Pak Qatar Joint Ministerial Commission meeting held in Qatar last month.
A copy of the minutes issued by the signatories of the two countries was sent to the respective ministries for implementation of the decisions made by the two countries.
Pakistan has expressed an interest in exporting sports goods for the FIFA World Cup 2022. Qatar has welcomed Pakistan’s interest and said it would consider its goods on the basis of price and quality for the mega event.
The document also read that the Pakistani government had fully endorsed a report sent by the Qatar government to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to recognise its products, including Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and natural gas, as eco-friendly.
Qatar has also requested additional traffic rights to enhance aviation links with Pakistan. The two countries will consider the matter on a commercial basis.
The two countries have agreed on an air service agreement in the near future to enhance bilateral cooperation between Pakistan and Qatar in other areas of aviation, and agreed to hold further meetings during the forthcoming air service talks scheduled to be held in Shi’ar Uqba, Jordan where further progress is expected in this regard.
According to Qatar’s media, the two-way trade exchange between Qatar and Pakistan reached QR9.5bn in 2018, witnessing an unprecedented 63 percent growth) as a result of better ties. The balance of trade is currently skewed in favour of Qatar due to the export of high-valued products to Pakistan. But the South Asian nation is also working aggressively to enhance collaboration in the field of manpower aiming to increase the flow of remittances, which will eventually make the economic relations more balanced.
Currently some 150,000 Pakistanis live and work in Qatar and remitting about $400m annually to the Pakistani economy. Pakistan has been working to secure more Qatari visa to provide doctors, engineers and other skilled manpower.