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Pakistan Calls Trump 'Main Hurdle' in Securing Duty-Free Export Access to US

© AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster / President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with state leaders about prison reform, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.
President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with state leaders about prison reform, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. - Sputnik International
Pakistan wanted to cash in at the expense of India after New Delhi was served a 60-day termination notice for its subsidised import regime with the US on 4 March.

New Delhi (Sputnik): Pakistan has described President Donald Trump as the "main hurdle" in its efforts to secure duty-free market access to the US. Islamabad attempted to secure duty-free export access to the colossal US market after India was given a termination notice from Washington which is likely to hinder bilateral trade between the two economic powers once it comes into effect in May.

READ MORE: Pakistan's IMF Bailout Package Inked, Other Deals to Follow — Finance Minister

"We want duty-free market access for Pakistan's exports to the United States, but Trump is a main hurdle," Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to the minister on commerce, textile and industry said during a meeting of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile on Tuesday, according to media reports

The Pakistani government has indicated that it may once again attempt to secure such frictionless access to the US once Trump is longer in office. Islamabad is looking to make significant inroads into the US market by taking advantage of Washington's scrapping of duty concessions for India and Turkey.

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India's termination from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) followed its failure to provide the US with assurances that it would provide equitable and reasonable access to its market, particularly in sectors such as agriculture, telecom testing, and tariff reduction on tech products.

Cash-strapped Pakistan has been aiming to improve its economic and financial state by boosting exports to countries like the US and China. Meanwhile, Pakistan and China entered into an agreement, after seven years of free trade negotiations, which will be signed on 28 April during Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to Beijing.

"China has agreed to provide duty-free market access to 313 Pakistani goods under the FTA-II like the ASEAN grouping," Abdul Razak Dawood added, stating that Pakistan may be able to increase exports to China by $1-2 billion per year because of the duty relief.

READ MORE: Riyadh, Islamabad Sign Investment Deals Worth $20Bln — Reports

Pakistan's foreign-exchange reserves dropped to around $6 billion in January, raising concerns of default on several import payments. However, Islamabad's allies, particularly China, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia, pumped in a substantial amount of funds via loans and brought up the country's reserves to above $10 billion this month.

In addition to the funding, Riyadh also agreed to a $3 billion deferred payment petroleum supply line.

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