Economy

India, Pakistan to set up bank branches soon

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 09, 2018

Boosting ties: Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma with members of Pakistan Business Council prior to their meeting in the Capital on Thursday. – Photo: Ramesh Sharma   -  Business Line

India and Pakistan have taken one more step towards strengthening trade ties. The two nations have agreed to set up bank branches in each other’s soil.

“Let both the countries quickly establish the first two branches and we may also look at the possibility of expanding and bringing in some of our private sector banks. We are open to that,” Anand Sharma, Commerce and Industry Minister said after meeting a high-level business delegation from Pakistan.

The members of the delegation briefed the Minister regarding the issues being faced by them in their business transactions with India. The Pakistan Business Council is headed by Ali S Habib.

Sharma said India is keen to open more trade routes between the countries to boost bilateral commerce.

Expressing satisfaction over the trade normalisation between India and Pakistan, Sharma said that both countries need to continue moving forward towards a non-discriminatory trade regime.

“Pakistan government has taken some steps to move towards full normalisation of trade relations with India by making the transition from a ‘Positive list’ to a ‘Negative list’ for imports from India. This process must be taken to its logical end by phasing out the negative list and eventually according MFN status to India,” he added.

The Minister further said that whatever perceptions that are coming in the way of moving towards further improvement should be addressed by more information and better understanding of the benefits of the normalisation.

Sharma reiterated the decision taken during the meeting between the Commerce Ministers of both the countries in New Delhi on April 13, 2012 to constitute a Joint Business Council. He said India has already conveyed its list of prominent businessmen to Pakistan side. The Indian side has proposed Sunil Munjal as Co-Chair.

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.

>bindu.menon@thehindu.co.in

Published on November 29, 2012

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