Economy

India, Pakistan may agree to resume talks on easing trade

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 23, 2017

Let’s trade: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma with Chief Minister of Punjab (Pakistan) Shahbaz Sharif in New Delhi on Friday. — Shanker Chakravarty

Committed to trade normalisation roadmap, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma says





India-Pakistan trade talks are likely to resume soon as Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and Pakistan’s Minister of State for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan met here today to discuss further normalisation of the bilateral process .

This is the first significant meeting between the trade ministers since the talks collapsed earlier this year following the killing of Indian soldiers at the Line of Control.

Roadmap

Allowing more items through the Wagah border, opening bank branches in each other’s countries and electricity trade — all part of the trade liberalisation agenda being pursued by the two since January 2011— were also discussed by the two Ministers. “With both Ministers agreeing to meet next month again during a meeting of Saarc countries, it seems that the trade liberalisation process is ready to take off again,” a Commerce Department official told Business Line.

Sharma told the Pakistani Minister — who was accompanied by the Chief Minister of Pakistan’s Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif — that India stands committed to the roadmap for bilateral trade normalisation as worked out in September 2012 between the Commerce Secretaries of both nations.

The roadmap requires Pakistan to remove restrictions on trade via the land route (Attari, Wagah ICP) and extend Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India by removing the ban on the remaining 1,209 products.

Sharma said India, on its part, is ready to give enhanced preferential access to Pakistani products by bringing down its sensitive list under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement.

This will result in lower import tariffs on all items from Pakistan except on 100 items .

>amiti.sen@thehindu.co.in

Published on December 13, 2013

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