Pakistan is ready grant India the status of Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA), an almost equivalent of Most Favourted Nation, any time soon.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India, Abdul Basit, said this here at a meeting organised by Calcutta Chamber of Commerce.

“It is just a matter of days”, the High Commissioner explained to describe the readiness of his country for achieving this milestone. India had unilaterally given MFN statust of Pakistan in 1996. Though the dialogue continued in the meanwhile to expand trade, economic relations including investments, Pakistan always demurred in giving India the favoured status.

In the recent rounds of composite dialogue, Pakistan coined the new status proposal instead of MFN. “We had almost readied ourselves to announce it early last year. But we were told to wait (Lok Sabha) until election results were out in India and the new Government was in place,” Basit said.

The bilateral trade between the two countries went up steadily from $ 1.8 billion in 2009-10 to $ 2.7 billion in 2013-14. India’s exports to Pakistan went up from $ 1.5 billion in 2009-10 to $ 2.3 billion in 2013-14.

However, exports from Pakistan remained very low at $ 430 million.

The High Commissioner said Pakistan has all along been hesitant giving India the special status in view of the fear that goods from the neighbouring country would flood the streets of Pakistan and its industry and agriculture would suffer.

A member of WTO, Pakistan is yet to open up at a faster rate. Strangely, the third country trade India and Pakistan or costly trading of goods through Dubai is estimated to be more than three times than that of formal trade between the two countries.

Experts puts the bilateral trade potential at $20 billion. This is 8 times larger than the current volume. India’s export to Pakistan is projected to have a potential of reaching $16 billion and import potential is placed at $4 billion from Pakistan.

Going forward Pakistan might seek land access for trade to Bangladesh or Nepal, while India could be allowed access to Afghanistan, the High Commissioner said.

On his first visit to city, Basit would meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday