The Prime Minister’s visit to Saudia Arabia has resulted in a free trade agreement (FTA) for trade liberalisation between the two countries.
The two sides discussed having an FTA or a preferential trade agreement (PTA) for improving mutual trade opportunities for each other’s markets. Officials from the Pakistani side said that Pakistan would give the same trade facilities to Saudi Arabia as it has to China and Indonesia to increase trade volume.
The commerce secretary Muhammad Younus Dagha said that Pakistan wanted its local goods like sports goods, leather, textiles and medicines to gain access to Middle Eastern markets. He said that Pakistan was already trading with Bahrain as a part of the GCC and would like to deal with Saudi Arabia as well.
The decision for an FTA has emerged following Islamabad’s declining of the Kingdom’s purchase of two power plants located in Punjab and owned by the federal government. The government rejected their sale due to rules regulating the sale of assets without a competitive bidding process, which can take up to six-months. However, to satisfy the Saudi envoy they said that a legal opinion from the Ministry of Law will be sought about whether existing plants can be sold under a government-to-government deal.
The Saudi envoy also expressed interest in setting up an oil refinery of over 100,000 barrel per day capacity and investing in Reko Diq gold and copper mines.