Trade Talks Part of Modi-Sharif Meet­ing To­day

The Economic Times - - Economy -

Trade-re­lated is­sues such as grant of non-dis­crim­i­na­tory mar­ket ac­cess (NDMA) to In­dian prod­ucts are ex­pected to fig­ure in the bi­lat­eral meet­ing of Naren­dra Modi and Pak­istan Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif here on Tues­day. “Def­i­nitely both the prime min­is­ters will dis­cuss is­sues re­lated to trade. It is an im­por­tant is­sue. But the ball is in Pak­istan’s court. In­dia has al­ready agreed on the road map to boost trade be­tween the two coun­tries,” of­fi­cial sources said. Sharif is here to at­tend the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony of Naren­dra Modi. His del­e­ga­tion in­cludes ad­vi­sor Sar­taj Aziz, spe­cial as­sis­tant Tariq Fatemi and for­eign sec­re­tary Aizaz Chaudhry. Sharif will have a sep­a­rate meet­ing with Modi be­fore re­turn­ing to Pak­istan. Pak­istan has de­cided to post­pone grant of NDMA sta­tus to In­dia due to do­mes­tic com­pul­sions.

Bi­lat­eral trade talks have been sus­pended since last year fol­low­ing es­ca­la­tion in vi­o­lence at the line of con­trol. In 2012, Pak­istan had com­mit­ted to giv­ing the most favoured na­tion (MFN) sta­tus to In­dia but missed its own dead­line of De­cem­ber 31, ow­ing to do­mes­tic op­po­si­tion. The neigh­bour­ing coun­try has to abol­ish the neg­a­tive list of 1,209 trad­able items. Abol­ish­ing the neg­a­tive list items that can­not be im­ported from In­dia means the grant of NDMA sta­tus to In­dia. NDMA is a nomen­cla­ture cho­sen by the Pak­istan govern­ment to avoid po­lit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions at home of giv­ing In­dia the MFN sta­tus. Be­sides, both sides had agreed to start trade in power and oil sec­tors and open more trade routes. The bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the coun­tries stood at $2.6 bil­lion in 2012-13. In­dia’s main ex­ports to Pak­istan in­clude su­gar, man­made fil­a­ments and chem­i­cals while its im­ports com­prise min­eral fu­els, among oth­ers.

In 2012, Pak­istan had com­mit­ted it­self to give the most favoured na­tion sta­tus but missed its own dead­line of De­cem­ber 31, ow­ing to do­mes­tic op­po­si­tion

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