ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – Federal Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan Friday told the Senate on Friday that the government was committed to ensuring a sufficient supply of fertilizers to farmers.

During question hour, he said that the local production of fertilizer had increased during the current financial year due to the increased supply of gas to fertilizer plants.

The Minister said that negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with South Korea would start by the end of the year.

The minister said that negotiations with China were already underway for the second phase of the FTA. He said all relevant stakeholders including the local manufacturing sector had been consulted in this regard.

The Commerce Minister said that both Pakistan and China had agreed to exchange financial data electronically to eliminate the possibility of unfair business practices.

He said additional regulatory duty of 20 percent had been imposed on steel and other items to boost local industry.

Khurram Dastgir told the House that the economy was growing under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

He said that efforts were underway for the better marketing of Pakistani products in foreign markets. 120 trade exhibitions were held in different countries in 2015 for this purpose, he said.

To a question, Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rahman Khan told the House that an enabling environment had been created for international financial players such as e-bay and pay pal to establish their set ups in the country.

She said Pakistan’s ranking on the financial action task force list had improved from grey to white to enable the entry of these international financial players.

Anusha Rahman said the government is also in the process of formulating a framework for the e-commerce value chain including the establishment of state-of-the-art infrastructure and consumer protection measures.