Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bilateral Relations: India, Pakistan discuss ways to normalise, enhance trade ties

Source: IRNA

New Delhi, Jan 16, IRNA -- Ahead of the meeting between their commerce ministers on Saturday, India and Pakistan Wednesday discussed impediments hampering the normalisation of trade ties, in a bid to remove them and move forward.

During the meeting between Commerce Secretary S. R. Rao and his Pakistani counterpart Qasim M Niyaz, both the sides agreed that normalisation and enhancement of trade was a continuous process.

Happening after a gap of over a year, the secretary-level meeting was also aimed at understanding the viewpoint of the Nawaz Sharif government on normalising Indo-Pak trade ties, the PTI reported quoting officials as said here. The meeting took place in a positive and amicable environment. Both the sides discussed the impediments including non-trade barriers for trade and ways to remove them to enhance commerce, a source in the Pakistani side said.

The trade liberalization process between the two nations was hit after the beheading of an Indian soldier in January last year.

Besides, Pakistan missing the deadline for granting the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India has also not gone down well with Indian authorities.

Pakistan was to grant the status in December 2012 by eliminating the negative list of 1,209 items.

The secretaries of both sides reviewed the progress of talks in other areas such as initiation of trade in petroleum products and power export to Pakistan.

Both the sides agreed that enhancement and normalization of trade is a continuous process. They also agreed to move forward on all matters.

Meanwhile, Pakistans State Minister for Commerce and Textile Khurram Dastagir Khan, in an interview to the PTI in Islamabad, said his country is working on granting Non Discriminatory Access status instead of the contentious MFN.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Khan will meet on January 18. Khan is visiting India for the SAARC Business Leaders Conclave.

The Commerce Secretaries of India and Pakistan met last time in September, 2012. During that meeting, both the sides had emphasised on the need to increase trade traffic through the Railways.

They had also agreed to encourage two-way investment and enhance investor confidence on both sides. Besides, both had emphasised on the need to eliminate non-trade barriers and enhance air-connectivity between the two nations.

The bilateral trade between the two countries stood at USD 2.60 billion in 2012-13.