ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Turkey have agreed to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) in the first three months of 2014.
The two nations pledged to intensify cooperation in energy, trade, urban development, infrastructure and housing sectors besides inking agreement to operationalise the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul ECO container train. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after holding an exclusive meeting, followed by delegation-level talks at the PM House, termed it a “comprehensive review” of bilateral relations.
“We have just concluded a comprehensive review of our bilateral relations as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern. Our discussions were marked by unanimity of views on all issues,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said. He said consistent with the shared vision to strengthen economic ties, the two countries have also decided to conclude a Preferential Trade Agreement. He said economic frameworks like the PTA would significantly contribute towards trade facilitation.
The two sides also agreed to provide a dynamic future-oriented outlook to their strategic relationship. Prime Minister Erdogan said Turkey wanted expanded bilateral ties with Pakistan in all fields, including political, military, economic, trade and culture. He also appreciated the fact that his Pakistani counterpart made Turkey the second stop, soon after he assumed his office. He expressed the hope that the PTA between the two countries will go a long way in further expanding their economic ties.
Erdogan said the level of trade between the two countries did not match the existing strong relations and there was a need to take steps to enhance it significantly. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said the two sides have also signed a number of MoUs, including the operationalisation of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul ECO container train. Nawaz Sharif said regular operations of the train would not only strengthen connectivity but it also had the potential to harness greater economic integration between the region and beyond.
“I am confident that our interactions would further intensify cooperative partnership between the two countries,” he added. Prime Minister Erdogan also announced opening of a Turkish Cultural Centre in Lahore. He said both the sides have the political will to strengthen their cooperation. He said they also discussed expansion of communication linkages between the two countries, through land, air and sea.
Nawaz Sharif said Pakistan and Turkey enjoyed a special relationship, bound by fraternal ties of religion, history and culture. Prime Minister Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan has reinforced these ties, he added. “As two pillars of strength, Pakistan and Turkey stand united in our joint endeavour to promote peace and stability in the region,” Prime Minister Nawaz said. He termed the current visit of Erdogan as another milestone in the relationship.
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