Ambassador of Vietnam to Pakistan Nguyen Tien Phong has said that Pakistan had huge trade and investment opportunities in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) $3 trillion economy for increasing the bilateral trade and economic ties.
The ambassador made these comments while addressing the Pakistan ASEAN Business Forum, organized by United Business Group (UBG) of Federation Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Sunday.
With ASEAN’s $3 trillion economic power and a large market of 650 million people in the region, the mutual US$7 billion trade between ASEAN and Pakistan is far below its potential, the ambassador said. He said that Pakistan was a huge market with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $300 billion and a population of 230 million, and there were huge opportunities for ASEAN countries in Pakistan.
He said China had $600 billion in trade with ASEAN countries. Similarly, China and ASEAN countries had a free trade agreement with Pakistan from which both sides can benefit, he said.
Regarding multilateral trade in Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Pakistan’s trade interests with this trading bloc, the Vietnamese Ambassador said that Vietnam, being an important member of ASEAN, would play its full role in paving the way for trade for Pakistan. He added that ASEAN was a very effective trading bloc of the world and had signed the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand from which all the regional countries were benefiting.
The ambassador said that the way Pakistan had Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) -Plus agreement with European countries and FTA with other countries, now both sides could promote bilateral trade under one agreement. He said that talks on further progress on the proposed Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Vietnam were likely to take place in mid-November this year 2021.
In the fifth meeting of the ‘Vietnam-Pakistan Trade Committee Plan’, both sides will discuss the two top agendas of bilateral trade and investment, the PTA and the agreement on mutual investment and its protection. The ambassador said that in the fifth round of talks under the Trade Subcommittee will also discuss the other issues of bilateral trade and investment cooperation between the two countries. He said that after the signing of the PTA between the two countries, there would be talks on the FTA so as to increase the trade volume between the two countries.
He said that at present there was a bilateral trade of about $700 million between the two countries, which is far below its potential and in order to increase it, the trade volume between the two countries needed to be increased.