FEDERAL Cabinet at its meeting on Tuesday took an important decision to forging long term strategic relations with the fraternal country Turkey by approving Pak-Turkey Strategic Economic Framework (SEF) which aims at enhancing trade and investment relations between the two countries. The framework having nine working groups will give the necessary input to expand the bilateral relations in diverse fields which will also help Pakistan connect with the Central Asia, Russia and the West.
Undoubtedly Turkey is amongst the few countries which have always stood by Pakistan in the hour of trial be it in any calamity like situation or the external challenges including the FATF and Kashmir dispute. Therefore, the very roadmap for strengthening economic relations with a reliable and trustworthy friend is a truly very positive step that will bring both the countries further close to each other. The very decision of entering into strategic economic framework was reached during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Turkey and given the desire on both the sides to further cement their economic relations, we are confident that the SEF will be operationalized instantaneously with focus on signing the long awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in order to give the much needed boost to bilateral trade. Pakistan can only benefit from the FTA if it diversifies its export basket by bringing in the value addition as well as seeking reduction of duties from Turkey on its products on the pattern of Egypt and Jordan. We are confident that the way Ankara has shown open heartedness to Pakistan, it will be forthcoming to fully opening its market to our products by granting the necessary concessions. Then Pakistan can also benefit from Turkish experience of promoting its tourism industry and infrastructure. Turkish investment can also be attracted in special economic zones, food processing, mining and minerals besides the construction sector. Since the SEZ envisages establishment of high level cooperation committee to be headed by top leadership from both sides, we are confident that they will give their vision and ideas to take the relationship to new heights.