Pakistan and Turkey on Tuesday agreed to conclude Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in the next six months to increase trade volume and facilitate investment by private sectors in both the countries. The one-on-one meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan followed by delegation level talks and signing of three Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) and one Co-operation Protocol.
The two sides agreed to maintain active political consultative process as well as regular exchange of high-level visits alongside visits of parliamentarians, businesspeople, civil society and media representatives and follow up implementation of decisions taken at the High Level Strategic Co-operation Council Forum.
Pakistan and Turkey also agreed to conclude PTA by the first half of 2014 and to facilitate investments by the private sector in both countries. It was agreed that Pakistan would especially encourage Turkish private sector for investment in key sectors like energy, coal, hydroelectric and wind, infrastructure including motorways, roads and airports, low-cost housing and urban development & municipal services like public transport and solid waste management.
The two sides also agreed to encourage their respective state and private banks to open branches in Pakistan and Turkey; ensure regular operations of Istanbul-Islamabad Container train for enhanced on-land connectivity between Pakistan and Turkey. Both the countries also vowed to further strengthen their existing co-operation and partnership in security and counter-terrorism related issues besides further deepening their defence co-operation through exploring the possibility of joint defence production and allied research and development; learn from each other’s best practices in skill development and vocational training programs; enhance co-operation between educational institutions of the two countries.
Both the countries agreed to increase number of scholarships to students to pursue undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate level studies in both countries in the fields of engineering, technology, medicine and management sciences; promote co-operation in the field of tourism and preservation and restoration of historical and archaeological sites; and closely co-ordinate and consult bilaterally as well as multilaterally to promote regional peace and security. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to visit Turkey which he graciously accepted.
Author: Zaheer Abbasi
Source: Business Recorder