KUALA LUMPUR: Pakistan and Malaysia have signed an agreement, which has enlarged the scope for a free trade agreement between the two countries. The Malaysia-Pakistan Closer Economic Participation (MPCEPA) agreement has also enabled Pakistan to secured market access in Malaysia with a huge opportunity of exports for its existing cotton, leather and agricultural based core products, a press release issued by the Pakistani High Commissioner here said.
MPCEPA was signed by Malaysian International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz and High Commissioner of Pakistan Tahir Mahmood Qazi, here. Considering the market potential of Malaysia and ASEAN, negotiations on a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement were initiated in 2005. Early Harvest Programme was signed in December 2005 and implemented with effect from 1st January, 2006. Negotiations on CEPA were concluded in September, 2007, signed on 8th November 2007, and will come into force on Ist January 2008.
MPCEPA is Pakistan’s first comprehensive agreement on Goods, Services, Investment and Economic Co-operation with any country of the world, besides, being its first such Agreement between the two members of OIC and Malaysia’s first such agreement with any of the countries of South Asia. This agreement will provide Pakistan a Firm foothold in ASEAN region, and a summit level partnership with Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
MPCEPA will also facilitate linkage with efficient and growing economy of ASEAN by providing market Access to Pakistan’s future items of export interest and opportunities to the Pakistani exporters and industrialists to source out raw materials and intermediary goods from China or Malaysia at zero / reduced duty enabling them to reduce the cost of their export and become competitive in the global market.
This agreement will also open new vistas of opportunities for the qualified Pakistan financial institutions to undertake currencies in Malaysia and insurance companies to establish representative offices in Malaysia and employ Pakistan expatriates in these entities after obtaining new licences on Islamic banking and takaful, besides, .the MPCEPA will also cover energy and gas service as well as commitments in financial services and sectors such as maritime transport and franchise.-SANA