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FTA with India, US difficult at the moment: Pakistan PM's top aide


Press Trust of India Lahore
Pakistan concluding a free trade agreement with India as well as the United States is difficult now and a deal with New Delhi will depend on improvement in political relations, a top adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan has said.
The comments of Abdul Razak Dawood, Pakistan Prime Minister's Advisor on Commerce, Textile and Industry came on Monday in response to questions on the possibility of free trade agreements with the US and India.
When asked to comment on the reported statement by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham that the US may offer Pakistan a Free Trade Agreement if Islamabad renders full support and cooperation to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table for a dialogue to end the 17-year brutal was in Afghanistan.
"Pakistan is doing a great job.... But when we talk about the FTA with the United States it is very difficult as it will take five to seven years," Dawood said.
Pakistan's ties with the US remains uneasy over Islamabad's failure to curb terrorist activities from its soil.
When asked whether or not the government led by Prime Minister Khan expected improvement in free trade relations with India via the Wagah border, Dawood said: "It depends on the improvement in political relations between Pakistan and India. An FTA with India is not easy at the moment."

Pakistan is yet to grant the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.
Dawood said in November last year that there no immediate plans to grant MFN status to India.
India has already granted the MFN status to all members of the World Trade Organisation, including Pakistan.
Dawood's comments on Monday came a day after Fawad Chaudhry, Minister of Information of Pakistan, said that the time is not right to hold a dialogue as the Indian leaders are preparing for the upcoming general elections.
"It is useless to talk to them (India) now unless there is some stability. We will move forward once the new government is formed after the elections," Chaudhry said.
"We have delayed our efforts to hold talks with India because we do not expect any big decision from the present Indian leadership," he said.
The relations between India and Pakistan remains strained after the terror attacks by Pakistan-based terrorists and no bilateral talks talking place between them for more than two years.
India has firmly told Pakistan that terrorism and talks cannot go together.

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First Published: Jan 29 2019 | 6:20 PM IST

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