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Pakistan: Free Trade

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 9 September 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent consideration he has given to the introduction of a free trade agreement between Pakistan and the EU; and if he will make a statement. (284648)

I have been asked to reply.

We are keen to see the EU improve economic links with Pakistan. One option would be for the EU and Pakistan to negotiate a free trade agreement. At the recent EU-Pakistan summit, a package of trade measures was agreed which included enhancement of the EU-Pakistan trade dialogue; a commitment for the EU to remove trade obstacles and provide technical assistance; an agreement to review EU-Pakistan co-operation on capacity building; and a commitment to re-examine the GSP+ preferential scheme with a view to possible inclusion of Pakistan.

These trade measures should help improve economic ties between the EU and Pakistan, and help build the necessary capacity and infrastructure to help Pakistan towards an EU-Pakistan free trade agreement in the longer term.