Pak, Turkey to sign FTA before end of 2017

ISLAMABAD: Vowing to transform their special relationship into a strong strategic partnership, Pakistan and Turkey have decided to conclude the free trade agreement by the end of next year.
The understanding came during talks between the two countries, which were led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in here on Thursday.
The two countries agreed that increased trade, investment and commercial cooperation must be the nucleus of the robust economic relationship.
Later addressing a joint news conference, the Prime Minister said Pakistan and Turkey are indispensable partners and they would continue to work together closely to strengthen peace, security and development in the region and beyond.
Nawaz Sharif said he briefed the visiting dignitary about Pakistan’s continuing commitment to build a peaceful neighbourhood despite setback to our sincere efforts.
He said he also updated him about continuing grave human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir and the current state of Pakistan-India relations.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked President Erdogan for promoting peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute and the active role Turkey has been playing in OIC Contact Group on Kashmir.
He also expressed deep appreciation of Turkey for its strong support for Pakistan’s bid for membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group.
The Prime Minister referred to the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July this year and said the resolve and resilience with which Turkish people defeated the illegal assault on democracy was remarkable. He said the courage with which President Erdogan led the resistance effort from the front was decisive. He said the entire Pakistani nation regardless of political affiliations was unanimous in expressing support and solidarity for Turkey’s elected government and democratic institutions.
He said people of Turkey wrote a new chapter in the annals of history and democracy.
In his remarks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved through dialogue between Pakistan and India keeping in view the aspirations of the Kashmiri people and the UN resolutions.
He said we cannot ignore the ongoing tension on the Line of Control and the situation in Kashmir. He said OIC will continue to extend support to Pakistan on the matter.
Touching upon Afghan Pakistan cooperation, he said the need this is vital to fight the scourge of terrorism. He said the trilateral mechanism between Turkey-Pakistan Afghanistan initiated in 2007 had yielded positive results in strengthening the relations.
He expressed the confidence that the cooperation between the three countries will be further improved and strengthened in the days ahead.
The Turkish President thanked Pakistan’s support in the wake of failed coup attempt in Turkey. He said he received phone calls from the top Pakistani leadership who expressed their support for democracy in the country and discussed what should be done together. He said we will never forget the sincerity and support extended by Pakistan for Turkish democracy.
The Turkish President described his talks with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif as very productive and said besides entire gamut of bilateral relations, we also discussed regional and international issues.
He said besides economy, trade and cultural relations, Pakistan and Turkey are also improving relations in defense, energy and other fields.
A joint declaration was issued by the two countries vowing to further cement and strengthen their relations in diverse fields.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has said that the stable macro economic and security environment in Pakistan will trigger growth and progress in the country.
Addressing a Pakistan-Turkey investment roundtable conference here on Thursday, he said Pakistan offers immense potential for foreign investment. He said a sound institutional framework is in place and also the unwavering commitment of the government to protect foreign investments.
The Prime Minister urged Turkish investors to invest in agriculture, energy, and infrastructure sectors.
He said due to prudent policies of the government, our economy has become stable, inflation receded, fiscal deficit remained controlled, confidence in exchange rate management has been restored with substantial increase in foreign exchange reserves.
He said stock market remained buoyant and is regarded as one of the best performing markets of the region.
Nawaz Sharif said international rating agencies have upgraded Pakistan’s economic outlook. He expressed the hope that Pakistan will certainly overcome energy shortage by the start of 2018.
The Prime Minister said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will connect China and central Asia through Gwadar Port. He said large scale industrial parks and zones, being established along the corridor, will ultimately generate massive industrial and commercial activities in Pakistan and the region.
Nawaz Sharif invited Turkey to become part of CPEC by exploring massive investment opportunities, the project is offering.

Speaking on the occasion, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country is looking forward to cooperate with Pakistan in all fields. He said Turkey considers Pakistan’s development and progress as its own. The President said CPEC will certainly magnify regional cooperation and strengthen Pakistan’s economy. Staff Reporter