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Pakistan, Qatar agree in principle on preferential, free trade agreement


Imran_Khan_AP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Qatar have agreed in principle on a preferential trade agreement (PTA) and a free trade agreement (FTA) to enhance bilateral trade, according to a media report on Monday.

Under the agreements, which are expected to be signed soon, Pakistan has offered to establish a plant in Qatar to manufacture footballs for the FIFA World Cup 2022, to be hosted by the Gulf nation, as well as subsequent football tournaments, reported The Express Tribune.

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 report said. Nebras Power, a major investment group in Qatar's energy sector, has expressed interest indirectly investing in Pakistan's power sector.

The Nebras Power Consortium will help privatise the Haveli Bahadur Shah and Balloki power plants in Pakistan. The Nebras Power Consortium 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.

Qatar has also requested additional traffic rights to enhance aviation links to Pakistan, the report quoted an official document as saying. 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.

According to Qatar's media, the two-way trade exchange between Qatar and Pakistan reached 9.5 billion Qatari Rial (USD 2.61 billion) in 2018, witnessing an unprecedented 63 per cent growth as a result of better ties.

The balance of trade is currently skewed in favour of Qatar due to the export of high-value products to Pakistan. Pakistan is working aggressively to enhance collaboration in the field of manpower, aiming to increase the flow of remittances, the report said. 

Currently, some 1,50,000 Pakistanis live and work in Qatar and remit about USD 400 million annually to Pakistan's cash-strapped economy.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)