Pakistani business owners think that the people of Pakistan and Turkey have been brought closer by historical super hit Turkish drama Ertugrul and now it’s time for Turkey to reciprocate by lifting duties on exports from Pakistan.
Ertugrul was a massive success in Pakistan and the drama’s Turkish artists became celebrities in Pakistan too. Two main stars have also been doing TV commercials in Pakistan, much to the resentment of Pakistani artists.
Sheikh Sultan Rehman, vice-president of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), said Ertugrul’s success in Pakistan has brought the two nations closer.
He added that the two countries should also become closer in trade and increase trade between them after he attended a joint video meeting of the Board of Directors of the Pak-Turkey Chamber of Commerce earlier this week.
It was co-chaired by Amjad Rafi from Pakistan and Dr Omar Bolt from Turkey. Ambassador of Pakistan to Turkey Syrus Sajjad Qazi and Ambassador of Turkey to Pakistan Mustafa Yardakul also attended.
He pointed out that Pakistan’s exports to Turkey are hampered by the imposition of countervailing duties by Turkey and the recent enhancement of customs duties on various items, including textiles.
Pakistan has always bought more from the world than it has sold. The difference between the value of its exports against its value of imports, called balance of trade, has remained in the negative zone, called a trade deficit, since 1971. Balance of trade data from 1971 is available on the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics website.
The trade deficit has remained in the billions of dollars category since 2008. It reached a high of nearly $31 billion in fiscal year 2017-18. The Pakistan government has been criticised for signing trade agreements with countries without proper studies as those agreements have mostly gone against Pakistan, with the massive trade deficit proving that.
The trade deficit with Turkey has also increased to $244 million with total bilateral trade volume of $865 million. Pakistan mainly imports communication tools, cameras, machines and textiles while it exports textile, fiber, plastic, cotton, polyester and organic chemicals. The two countries have been looking to enhance bilateral trade to $5 billion.
It was also highlighted during the meeting that there are opportunities for collaboration in other sectors such as tourism, education, construction, infrastructure development, health and entertainment.
The representative of the Pakistan’s business community, Amjad Rafi, said the trade agreement between the two countries should help balance the trade gap instead of increasing Pakistan’s trade deficit.
Rafi said the two countries were competitors in the textile and denim fabric market. Turkey should consider concessions to Pakistani products at par with the ones availed by European Union countries. It will help Pakistani products be better accepted in Turkey and would keep the trade balanced between the two countries, he said.