New prospects for Pak­istan-in­dia trade

Enterprise - - 14 -

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.

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