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.
"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.
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.
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.