India says Pakistan to take measures to boost trading ties

Ahmedabad: Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said Pakistan has agreed to take measures that would result in increased trading activity with India.

“Pakistan has agreed that they will move from the positive list which was coming in the way of trade normalization to a short negative list (that will result in more number of products coming for trade),” Sharma told Press Trust of India PTI, providing an update on status of Pakistan’s move to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.

Currently, India can export only 1,946 items to Pakistan from 8,000 tariff lines being traded. Presently, trade between India and Pakistan stands at USD2.6 billion, PTI quoted Indian industry experts as saying. In first stage, Pakistan will move from current positive list approach to a negative list. Thereafter, all items other than those on negative list will be freely exportable from India to Pakistan, they said. In second stage, even that small negative list would be phased out and the timeline for this would be out in February 2012, they added.

“The details of the same have been discussed in second round of talks between Commerce Secretaries of the two countries held last month,” Sharma said. “Pakistan has said that they will slowly move to negative list by February 2012, which will also coincide with a return visit by Indian Commerce and Industry Minister that is myself and Indian delegation to Pakistan, this will be stage one,” he said.

“Pakistan says that negative list is expected to be phased out later in 2012,” he informed. “In stage two, Pakistan has said that they will move towards MFN status on complete normalization of trade and also phasing out of negative list. I think once these steps are taken, it will pave way for greater economic activity and trade not only between Pakistan and India but in all South Asian countries. “Both countries have a sensitive list also and both of us shall be scaling it down,” Sharma said.

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