Pakistan-Vietnam talks on PTA likely next month: Ambassador

Ambassador of Vietnam Nguyen Tien Phong has expressed a desire to increase the trade volume between Pakistan and Vietnam up to US$1 billion in the next two years.

“The two countries have great potential to increase bilateral trade, which is being discussed on both sides,” the ambassador said in a press statement.

He said that talks on further progress on the proposed Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Vietnam are likely to take place in mid-November this year. He said the bilateral talks on the proposed PTA would be held under the framework of the upcoming ‘5th Vietnam – Pakistan Subcommittee on Trade’.

He said that in the subcommittee meeting both sides would discuss the two top agendas of bilateral trade and investment, PTA and the agreement on Investment Promotion Protection. Phong said that the fifth round of talks under the Trade Subcommittee would also discuss other issues of bilateral trade and investment cooperation between the two countries, the dismantling of tariff and technical barriers to trade flows.

He said that after signing the PTA, the talks on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would also be expected to sharply increase trade volume between the two countries.

The ambassador said that presently, there was a bilateral trade of about $700 million between the two countries, which was far below its potential, adding there was a need to enhance the trade volume to $1 billion in the coming one to two years.

He said that the two countries have vast potential for bilateral trade in agriculture including tea, black pepper, cashews, coffee, cotton and textile, seafood and dairy items. Manufactured products such as phone and phone parts, computer and computers parts, electrical and electronics and other technological equipment, in addition to pharmaceutical rubber, steel products and various chemicals were also in the potential trade list, said Phong.

The Vietnamese envoy said that new avenues for mutual cooperation in trade between the two countries can be opened by including trade sectors in these and other new sectors. He said that Pakistan exports to Vietnam were $136.67 million during 2020, including cotton, plastic, raw hides and skins (other than fur skins), leather, residues, food industry waste, animal fodder, cereals, fish, crustaceans, molluscs, aquatics, invertebrates, pharmaceutical products, tanning, dyeing extracts, tannins, derivatives, pigments and products of animal origin.

Pakistan imports from Vietnam mounted to $437.95 million during 2020 and included electrical, electronic equipment, man-made filaments, coffee, tea, mate and spices, sea foods, edible vegetables and certain roots and tubers, iron and steel, rubbers, miscellaneous chemical products, fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatics invertebrates, he said.

Phong added that the main reason for the decline in bilateral trade volume between the two countries, apart from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, was lack of mutual awareness between the enterprises on both sides, which needed to be improved.