Pakistan and the European Union (EU) are to carry out a joint study to determine the negative impact, if any, of the EU's South Asian trade policies on the country.

Speaking at a press conference, Federal Commerce Minister Humayun Akhtar Khan said the initiation of the study could help steer Pakistan towards a free trade agreement with the EU.

Terms of reference have been finalised for the joint study, which will be conducted after a meeting of the Pak-EU third generation sub-group on trade in Brussels next month. The sub-group will review the growth of bilateral trade ties in the South Asian region.

According to the minister, Pakistan and India are subjected to duty on their exports to the EU whereas four of South Asia's Less Developed Countries (LDCs) - Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives - have zero rated access to EU and Sri Lanka enjoys GSP Plus status.

By Ahmed Abdullah.