Pakistan and China are understood to have signed over three dozen trade cooperation agreements worth US$325m in a move designed to promote bilateral trade between the two countries.

The signing ceremony for the Pakistan-China Trade Cooperation Projects was held in Islamabad earlier this month, where 18 Chinese companies signed around 38 agreements, according to local reports.

The deals will facilitate the export of goods including leather, copper, marble, and various food items such as seafood from Pakistan, said Wang Dongtang, deputy director of China's Department of Foreign Trade.

China has been Pakistan's second largest export destination for the last couple of years, and in 2016 its exports to China stood at $1.9bn. Bilateral trade, meanwhile, currently amounts to $19.2bn, with the balance firmly in favour of Beijing.

According to Pakistan's Express Tribune, tariff and tax concessions given to Chinese businesses under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – a flagship project under the Belt and Road initiative – have further aggravated the situation.

The Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) believes the new initiative will promote Pakistani products in the Chinese market through a more focused approach. The new trade cooperation deals are equivalent to one-fourth of Pakistan's exports to China in 2016-17.