India miffed at Pakistan for not extending MFN status

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Vikas Swarup, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs

Says stance is in violation of WTO norms

India has once again raised its voice over Pakistan not extending it the Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) trade status, even as it warned its neighbour that such a stance was in violation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) norms.

“The fact that Pakistan has not extended MFN status to India even after lapse of close to 20 years since India unilaterally did, is not in keeping with the WTO norms,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

India’s tough talk comes a day after Pakistan sought WTO support on the proposed China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during the visit of the global trade body’s Director General Roberto Azevêdo to Islamabad.

“CPEC is a two-country initiative, part of which is proposed on the Indian territory under Pakistan’s illegal occupation. Our views in this regard are well-known,” Swarup said, adding that Pakistan should instead focus more on the initiatives taken by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

“Pakistan is a SAARC member and as such it is expected to contribute constructively to regional connectivity initiatives, including those that it did not support in the last SAARC Summit,” Swarup said.

Pakistan will host the SAARC Summit in November this year.

Reacting to Pakistan’s allegations that India imposes high non-tariff barriers (NTB) on their exports, Swarup said it is they who continue to impose barriers on Indian goods.

“As far as we are concerned, there are high NTBs in the region, not on Pakistan but from it.  Pakistan does not allow movement of all importable items from India through Wagah. In fact, it allows only 138 items through Wagah. This is the biggest NTB for thousands of Indian tariff lines that have to be routed through Karachi, raising costs, including for consumers in Pakistan,” he added.

The initiative to normalise trade ties between the two countries was resumed during the UPA-II regime in 2011. Pakistan had then committed to the 2012 deadline to grant MFN status to India, but it never did. It also did not abide by its promise to allow all goods to be traded though the Attari-Wagah border, and continues to maintain a negative list of over 1,200 goods that are barred from being imported from India.

Published on May 26, 2016

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