The work on Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between Pakistan and Vietnam, which continues to lie on the table for approval, should be expedited, said Vietnamese Ambassador to Pakistan Nguyen Tien Phong.

During his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday, the envoy informed the businessmen that talks for introducing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) were underway between the two nations however, the Vietnamese side desired approval of PTA first.

“Of course relevant meetings of joint trade and ministerial committees have been held however, some of them were postponed due to Covid-19 and we cannot delay the process any further,” he said.

He highlighted that the potential of trade and investment between the two sides was immense keeping in view huge population, sufficient natural resources and young labour force.

He stressed that countless opportunities were available in many sectors particularly travel and tourism which needed to be tapped.

“We have the potential and the framework but we need to explore how bilateral ties can be enhanced,” he said lamenting that relations between the two countries had remained stagnant for the past few years. He stressed upon the business associations from both the sides to come forward, identify problems, raise awareness and take practical steps to boost trade and investment ties.

“We continue to constantly support each other in many aspects and on several international forums yet the trade and investment values remain below the actual potential”, said the Vietnamese envoy. “This needs collective efforts from both the sides.”

According to him, the two countries needed to understand each other’s traditions and the way of doing business in addition to building confidence between the respective business communities to create a mutually beneficial win-win situation.

He noted that Pakistan and Vietnam would witness the golden jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations this year and Hanoi had huge plans to mark the day.

The envoy termed it vital for the two sides to observe effective and substantive partnership to further promote and strengthen the existing two way trade and investment ties. Centre for Peace and Development Initiative (CPDI) CEO Mukhtar Ahmad Ali told The Express Tribune that Pakistan mostly traded with western countries which had increased its dependence on them.

He stressed dire need to broaden the number of trading partners of Pakistan and focus especially on the developing countries like Vietnam.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2022.

Like Business on Facebook, follow @TribuneBiz on Twitter to stay informed and join in the conversation.