Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai and visiting Pakistani Minister of Commerce Humayun Akhtar Khan attended a signing ceremony in Beijing today for an agreement for an "early harvest" preferential tariff program.
Bo said it was the first step in establishing a China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement.
According to the agreement, 486 categories of Chinese goods exported to Pakistan will enjoy zero-tariff treatment, mainly vegetables, fruit, stone materials, textile machinery and organic chemical products.
China will give zero-tariff treatment to 769 categories of goods imported from Pakistan, mainly vegetables, fruit, stone materials, cotton and manmade fabric.
The two countries will start the tariff reduction process on January 1 and they are expected to reach a zero tariff rate by the beginning of 2008.
From that date, China will also cut its tariffs by 27 percent on 1,671 kinds of products from Pakistan, and Pakistan will cut tariffs by an average range of 22 percent on 575 kinds of products from China.
Negotiations for a free trade agreement began in April when Premier Wen Jiabao visited Pakistan.
(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2005)