Pakistan and China sign free-trade deal

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Chinese president, Hu Jintao has signed a free-trade deal with his Pakistani counterpart, General Pervez Musharraf, during ongoing talks in Islamabad. They signed a five-year pact to boost bilateral trade on Friday.

After a three-day trip to India, Hu Jintao travelled to Pakistan for a four-day visit and received a royal reception at his arrival. His visit to Pakistan is the first by a Chinese leader in a decade.

According to diplomats, the agreement could triple the value of bilateral trade within next five years, to $15bn.

Pakistani commerce minister, Humayoun Akhtar said that new trade pact would energize the efforts to cut tariffs. He added that the trade would be completely tariff-free between the two countries within next five years.

Both countries have agreed a number of new defence and energy deals. The Pakistan Air Force and Chinese Aviation Industries have agreed for long term collaboration in the fields of aircraft manufacturing including Airborne Warning And Control Systems (AWACS).