Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Breakthrough in Trade Relations with Pakistan
The Commerce Ministers of India and Pakistan along with their official delegations, held a bilateral meeting on February 15, 2012. Both sides reviewed the considerable progress achieved in taking forward the bilateral trade relationship. In the Joint Statement issued after the discussions, the Ministers firmly reiterated that both sides would scrupulously adhere to the roadmap drawn up by the Commerce Secretaries for full normalisation of trade relations. It had been agreed that Pakistan will move from a ‘Positive List’ to a small ‘Negative List’ by February 2012. The Negative List of 1209 items has since been formally notified by the Government of Pakistan on 20th March, 2012. This implies that except for these 1209 items, all other items can be exported. Such substantial increase in tradable commodities is expected to reduce trade through third countries.

It is expected that the complete phasing out of the Negative List before the end of 2012, would complete the transition to Most Favoured Nation(MFN) status for India, by Pakistan.

In addition to the above, further steps taken to improve bilateral trade relations include: (i) A liberalized visa regime for business persons has also been agreed between both countries and is ready to be signed.

(ii) Separate Joint Expert Groups have been set up to examine the feasibility of trade in electricity and initiate trade in petroleum products.

(iii) Central Banks of both countries are working out modalities for opening of bank branches in each other’s countries.

(iv) Inauguration in April 2012 of the state of the art Integrated Check Post at Attari has helped businessmen on both sides to expand trade by the Attari-Wagah land route.

This information was given by the Minister of State of Commerce and Industry, Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today. 

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