ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is all set to request Japan to restore yen-based concessional loans and tariff relief on textile and other products under Japan’s GSP Scheme, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.  

Both countries are scheduled to hold the 7th Japan-Pakistan high level Economic Policy Dialogue (EPD) on Friday (today) at Islamabad.  

Pakistan will assure Japan that it will address Japanese investment related concerns (uniforms/predictable taxation system, regulatory duties in SEZs, turnover tax, tax refunds, difficulty in outward remittances etc); and offer establishment of Japan-specific SEZs as Government of Japan actively considers Pakistan among the destinations for relocation of manufacturing facilities. Japan has incentivised Japanese companies in China who may wish to relocate to other countries.  

Exchange of information and intelligence in illicit flow of currency, profiling of passengers through Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS)  would also come under discussion. 

The sources said during a discussion on development cooperation, Pakistan will seek restoration of yen-based concessional loans, increase in grant assistance and visible flagship projects.  

For promotion of bilateral trade, Islamabad has planned to request for provision of tariff relief on Pakistan’s textile and other products under Japan’s GSP Scheme, capacity building of Pakistan’s quarantine experts, transfer of skills and technology to bridge gap in balance of trade and opening of business-related visas.  

The sources said, Tokyo will be requested to urge its Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) to favourably expedite Pakistan’s request for allowing import of Pakistani Kinnows into Japan.  

“Engaging Japanese authorities to facilitate Pakistani products with SPS and other licencing requirements that are hurting export of Pakistani food items (fruits, vegetables and meat) and surgical instruments are also part of the proposed agenda,” the sources maintained.   

Terms of Reference (ToRs) for joint feasibility study for Japan Pakistan’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will also be discussed at the meeting.  

Pakistan will seek transfer of technology for the export-oriented industry like marble and granite cutting and polishing, seafood processing and packaging, value addition of fruits and vegetables, textiles, engineering goods and development of model fish harbour, preferably in Gwadar.   

The sources said, Pakistani team will ask for Joint ventures for local manufacturing of electrical vehicles, mobile phones and engineering goods, in addition to seeking investment in motor vehicles, electronic equipment, machine tools, steel, nonferrous metals ships, chemicals, textiles, processed foods as well as in petroleum; petroleum products, natural gas, oilfield equipment, petrochemicals, steel, iron ore, mobile phones and electronic vehicles.  

Pakistan will invite Japan to constitute a business delegation to visit Pakistan and arrange an investment conference/seminar/webinar (depending upon the Covid situation) for facilitating B2B meetings between the business communities of both countries.  

For export of manpower, accreditation of Pakistan institutes and mutual skills recognition for imparting and testing skills in coordination with relevant ministry/department of Japan to facilitate export of skilled workers under the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) on Technical Interns 2019 will be sought. Japan will share the manpower demand for each trade/category.  

Signing an MoU with SME Support Japan (SMRJ) for bilateral SME development and economic cooperation through membership of J-Good Tech and technical assistance for value chain development and programmes for SMEs’ integration into global value chains will also be discussed.  

The discussion would also focus on easing entry of IT professionals in Japan through special and efficient immigration process, establishment of Joint Transfer of Technology Forum. 

Real-time exchange of information between the two countries regarding values of goods originating from both countries and exchange of information/experience/capacity building for integrated risk management is also on the agenda.  

An initiative of dialogue to have an MoU on mutual legal assistance and cooperation in customs matters, exchange of information and intelligence in illicit flow of currency, profiling of passengers through Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) and capacity building for modernization and automation of customs processes will also be discussed.  

Pakistan will offer Japan facilitation of religious tourism for Buddhists, adventure tourism for mountaineers and eco-tourism.—MUSHTAQ GHUMMAN