Safeguarding national economic interest a priority: Commerce Minister

Islamabad, October 31, 2016 (PPI-OT):The Minister for Commerce, Engineer Khurram Dastagir Khan has said that safeguarding national economic interests of Pakistan will be the supreme priority while negotiating 23-country Trade in Service Agreement (TiSA). He said this while chairing an inter-ministerial TiSA Council meeting on Monday which was attended by the representatives of all the relevant ministries and departments of federal government. The objective of the meeting was to consult and solicits opinion of the ministries before deliberations under TiSA.

TiSA is a proposed international trade treaty between 23 countries including the European Union. Launched in April 2013, the agreement aims at liberalizing the worldwide trade of services such as banking, healthcare, transport and others. Pakistan is the least developed country member in the group. Chairing the meeting, the minister was of the view that Pakistan has to comprehend its priorities and advantages before entering into the international agreement.

“We will have to carefully and cautiously analyze the offers being made so that guidance can be provided while deliberating upon concluding negotiations under TiSA,” the minister said. Earlier, Dr. Muhammad Irfan, Deputy Secretary WTO, Ministry of Commerce apprised the participants in detail regarding the state of negotiations under TiSA. He briefed that Pakistan’s share in global trade services was recorded at a negligible level of 0.07 per cent by the year 2014.

Dr. Irfan urged all the government entities engaged in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) arrangements to screen TiSA with the perspective of services in the sectors of transport, finance, telecommunication, e-commerce, mining and energy and other infrastructure related services.

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