China said Friday that it has a battery of plans to increase imports from Pakistan now that the two countries have signed an agreement on free trade area (FTA).
China and Pakistan signed the deal earlier Friday in the presence of top leaders from both countries. The agreement is projected to triple current bilateral trade to 15 billion U.S. dollars within five years.
Chinese Commerce Ministry Spokesman Chong Quan said here Friday that China has committed to helping Pakistan develop its exports and would do so as the China-Pakistan free trade area is built.
China has arranged tax rebates for high-volume Pakistani exports to China. It will also grant favorable status to Pakistani products with export potential, said Chong, such as stones and rocks, leather, textiles, drugs and chemical products.
Chong said China would facilitate Pakistani companies' participation in Chinese expos to showcase their products.
According to the agreement due to take effect on July 1, 2007, China and Pakistan will reduce tariffs and remove non-tariff barriers to improve the trade environment.
The agreement is the third of its kind reached between China and foreign countries after the China-ASEAN FTA on goods liberalization and the China-Chile FTA.
China has begun talks on ten free trade areas, involving 27 countries and regions, according to the commerce ministry.
(Xinhua News Agency November 25, 2006)