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Pakistan keen to finalize FTA with S.Korea at its earliest: Ahsan

ISLAMABAD, 27 NOV (DNA) – First Vice Minister of South Korea Mr. Lim Sungnam called on Federal Minister Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal here on Friday.

The South Korean First Minister along with his delegation discussed the issues of mutual interest particularly in the field of economic cooperation and partnership between the two countries.

Both sides agreed to enhance the bilateral trade volume, which presently stands at one billion dollar annually as well as working towards early finalization of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and South Korea.

On this occasion, Federal Minister Planning, Development & Reform Ahsan Iqbal stated, “Pakistan and South Korea have a long history of partnership in economic field. We are appreciative of economic support South Korea extended to Pakistan on various occasions particularly in the time of crisis.

Korea is a very huge visibility in terms of cooperation in infrastructure development. The first phase of Motorway was constructed by a Korean company. We hope to further enhance cooperation with Korea in infrastructure development and energy in future.

Minister said that Pakistan is keen to finalize FTA with South Korea as soon as possible to explore new avenues to increase bilateral trade volume. Korean Minister assured to work towards early finalization of FTA. Ahsan Iqbal also sought the help of South Korea to develop industrial parks, which he said was part of Motorway project.

Unfortunately, the project was shattered when PML-N government was toppled in 1999. Korean First vice Minister assured that Korean government would look into the proposal.

Ahsan Iqbal said that one of the flagship projects is Malakand Tunnel project, whose feasibility has been completed. South Korea can help Pakistan to construct this tunnel at its earliest.

Minister also sought the help of South Korea for developing and upgrading the SME, engineering and rural economy sectors, in which it has done marvellously over the years. Minister also informed the Korean delegation about the construction of Diamar-Bhasha Dam and Dasu Dam, which he said are aimed at ensuring the food, energy and water security in the country. Pakistan is currently facing serious challenges of energy, water and food and these projects are necessary because in the last three decades, no big dam was built in the country.

Ahsan Iqbal said that apart from partnership in economic field, Pakistan is keen in knowledge sharing area with Korea. We want to learn from the experiences and achievements of South Korea in economic development and advancement areas.

South Korean Minister appreciated the economic recovery made in the last two and half years and assured that his country would work towards furthering economic partnership with Pakistan.

He particularly appreciated the hard work put in by Federal Minister Planning & Development Ahsan Iqbal for formulating Vision-2025. He also extended invitation to Minister Planning & Development Ahsan Iqbal to visit South Korea, which he candidly received. DNA

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