Pak working to remove bottlenecks in normalising trade with India

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January 1, 2013

Pakistan has assured India that it intends to phase out the negative list regime of trade that allows commerce in all but 1,209 items.

January 1, 2013

Pakistan has assured India that it intends to phase out the negative list regime of trade that allows commerce in all but 1,209 items.

Islamabad: The delay in full trade liberalization between Pakistan and India, including the grant of Most-Favored Nation-status, is due to “procedural hiccups” and Islamabad is working to remove bottlenecks, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim has said.

Fahim made the remarks when he recently spoke to his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma on phone to brief him on issues that are holding up full trade liberalization, the Dawn newspaper reported today.

“Islamabad is on course to remove bottlenecks in bilateral trade,” Fahim was quoted as saying. Pakistan has assured India that it intends to phase out the negative list regime of trade that allows commerce in all but 1,209 items. Fahim categorically conveyed to the Indian government Islamabad’s resolve to dismantle the negative list. The issue of fully liberalizing trade was now a matter of timing and “no one in Pakistan wants unlimited protection for local manufacturers”, the report said.

Over the weekend, Fahim told reporters on the sidelines of a business meeting in Karachi that Pakistan had delayed the grant of MFN-status to India “for a short time” because of reservations expressed by several industries. Pakistan was to have phased out the negative list regime on December 31, paving the way for giving MFN-status to India at the beginning of the New Year.

“No one is now against trade with India, including major political parties,” an unnamed official in the Commerce Ministry was quoted as saying by the Dawn. The Commerce Ministry believes it will be able to push for the early phasing out of the negative list. “We will submit a (proposal) in the next cabinet meeting for phasing out the negative list,” Commerce Secretary Muneer Qureshi said.


Courtesy: PTI