ISLAMABAD: China has informed the interim government in Pakistan that it will hold off on pursuing long-term agreements until an elected government is in place. The decision to delay pursuing long-term contracts with the interim government indicates China’s preference to work with an elected administration for important agreements in different sectors.
During background interviews with businessmen who accompanied the caretaker minister for Commerce and Gohar Ijaz on his recent visit to China, it was revealed that the Chinese are anticipating the newly elected government to initiate efforts to enhance business relations.
The delay in signing long-term agreements with Pakistan is seen as a strategic move by China to ensure that it is dealing with a stable and legitimate government.
Pakistan seeks to expand its current Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, which currently heavily favors Beijing.
Pakistan has formally requested the expansion of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China. Earlier this month, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia made progress towards finalizing a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council.
The sectors covered in the Pakistani delegation’s visit to China included agriculture, electric vehicles, marble, cement, fertilizer, fruit and vegetable, home appliances, glass, chemicals, and textiles.
The caretaker commerce minister conducted several meetings with Chinese officials. However, it was reported that he did not have a specific agenda on trade expansion when meeting with his Chinese counterpart.
China exports $20 billion worth of goods to Pakistan annually, while Pakistan only exports $2 billion worth of goods to China, according to Ijaz. The Chinese emphasized the importance of honoring agreements. A Pakistani businessperson reported receiving a positive response from the Chinese but did not disclose any specific deals.
However, information from entrepreneurs indicated that Chinese officials were displeased with Ijaz’s comments about the trade imbalance with China.
The delegation actively participated in the China-Pakistan Textile Summit, aiming to strengthen bilateral trade relations and explore increased cooperation.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the China Chambers of Commerce and the All-Pakistan Textile Mills Association, committing to enhance collaboration in the textile sector.
The delegation also engaged in fruitful Business-to-Business meetings with Chinese counterparts, focusing on enhancing textile imports and exports to strengthen economic ties.