In­dia as­sures Pak­istan to en­hance mu­tual eco­nomic en­gage­ments

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

NEW DELHI

In­dia on Thurs­day as­sured a high level Pak­istan busi­ness del­e­ga­tion of steps to en­hance mu­tual eco­nomic en­gage­ment, through set­ting up of bank branches in each other’s ter­ri­tory and open­ing up of more trade routes.

“Let both the coun­tries quickly es­tab­lish two bank branches first. We may also look at the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­pand­ing and bring­ing in some pri­vate sec­tor banks,” Com­merce and In­dus­try Min­is­ter Anand Sharma told the del­e­ga­tion re­ported PTI.

He said In­dia is keen to open more trade routes be­tween the coun­tries to boost bi­lat­eral com­merce. “We are keen...In our state of Pun­jab, they want open­ing up of more bor­der points and also in Ra­jasthan. I be­lieve there is a sim­i­lar de­sire from the Pak­istan side so that other states of Pak­istan are also con­nected,” Sharma said.

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial, the Min­is­ter in­formed the del­e­ga­tion that In­dia is work­ing on a tex­tile pol­icy specif­i­cally for its neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. “The min­istry is work­ing on the South Asia Tex­tile Co­op­er­a­tion Pol­icy,” an of­fi­cial said.

This comes in the wake of al­le­ga­tions from a Pak­istan del­e­ga­tion mem­ber that his coun­try’s tex­tile in­dus­try was given a dif­fer­ent treat­ment by In­dia as com­pared to other neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.

One of the mem­ber of the busi­ness del­e­ga­tion dur­ing the meet­ing al­leged that In­dia gives more con­ces­sions to Bangladesh tex­tile firms com­pared to Pak­istan and that it was a dis­crim­i­na­tion which should be re­moved, a source said.

On the visa is­sue, Sharma said that Pak­istan should op­er­a­tionalise the process soon for smooth move­ment of busi­ness­men from both coun­tries. In­dia and Pak­istan signed a new visa agree­ment on Septem­ber 8 in Is­lam­abad. Once im­ple­mented, the agree­ment will lead to lib­er­al­is­ing of the bi­lat­eral visa regime and in­tro­duc­tion of a num­ber of mea­sures aimed at eas­ing travel, in­clud­ing vis­its for busi­ness pur­poses.

“The new visa Agree­ment has still not come into force. Pak­istan needs to in­di­cate its readi­ness to bring into force the new visa agree­ment. We are ready to do so,” Sharma told the del­e­ga­tion.

On for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment, the min­is­ter asked the Pak­istan busi­ness lead­ers to seek as­sis­tance from ‘In­vest In­dia’ — a ve­hi­cle to guide in­vest­ments into the coun­try. Mean­while, Chair­man of Pak­istan Busi­ness Coun­cil Ali S Habib said Sharma told the del­e­ga­tion that steps are be­ing taken to re­move non-tar­iff bar­ri­ers.

“We have been as­sured that steps are and will be taken (in this re­gard),” Habib said af­ter the meet­ing.

He said tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties ex­isted for busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties from both the coun­tries. “In so many sec­tors we can co­op­er­ate. In­dia pro­duces all kinds of raw ma­te­ri­als and prod­ucts that Pak­istan is im­port­ing. Pak­istan is very strong in tex­tiles,” he said.

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