New prospects for Pakistan-india trade
India is committed to taking the economic and trade relationship with Pakistan to a new level. I have come to Pakistan with an open mind and to achieve substantial progress in our talks. The talks will help us in taking forward the process of peace and trade and we will work towards deepening and diversifying the relationship.” This is what Anand Sharma, the Indian Trade Minister, stated after crossing the border into Pakistan.
Sharma’s was the first ever visit by an Indian commerce minister to Pakistan. He was accompanied by top businessmen and over 150 entrepreneurs and exhibitors. The Indian visit has added further impetus to trade prospects between India and Pakistan.
Through an exchange of views and signing of trade agreements, Pakistan has shown its willingness to move towards a regime which deepens and diversifies trade with India; India on its part is also working towards structural reforms to enable a liberal trade and visa regime for Pakistani exporters.
Pakistan wants unhindered export of its products, mainly cotton yarn, fabrics, towels, leather items, surgical and sports goods, fruit, vegetables and pulses while India seeks market access to its products in information technology, engineering goods, pharmaceuticals, entertainmentrelated items, auto parts, steel goods and cosmetics.
The current trade volume between India and Pakistan is only about $2.7 billion. India has showed a commitment to removing various legal and regulatory barriers that have restricted trade so far. Says Anand Sharma: “We want to build bridges of confidence and trust which is imperative to promote two-way trade between the two countries.” The trade volume is expected to be doubled in the three years and a manifold increase will come about between the two countries once direct trade is facilitated through the land route.
R. V. Kanoria, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and B. Muthuraman, President, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) led the delegations of the respective chambers. The delegation also had prominent people from India’s corporate sector such as Rajan Bharti Mittal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises; Sunil Kant Munjal, Chairman, Hero Corporate Services; K. K. Modi, Chairman, Modi Enterprises; Harsh Pati Singhania, Managing Director, JK Paper; Naresh Goyal, Chairman, Jet Airways; Jyotsna Suri, Chairperson and Managing Director, Bharat Hotels; and Arun Nanda, Chairman, Mahindra Holidays and Resorts.
The delegation visited Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad for close interaction with Pakistani CEOS and officials in what is being described as a “landmark initiative” for removing the barriers so that the volume of bilateral trade reaches its potential of $10 billion in the next three years.
Trade agreements signed between India and Pakistan
Pakistan and India signed the following three trade agreements with pledges to adhere to all the accords in letter and spirit and build bridges of understanding to lead the two countries towards prosperity and stability. 1. Customs Cooperation Agreement - to avoid arbitrary stoppage of goods at each other’s ports. 2. Mutual Recognition Agreement - for acceptance of certificates of internationally accredited laboratories. 3. Redressal of Trade Grievances Agreement - for removal of grievances in case of any disagreement. The two countries will systematically address the issues related to non- tariff barriers through the implementation of these agreements.