Pakistan all set to grant MFN status to India | Pakistan Today

Pakistan all set to grant MFN status to India

Pakistan, which has not reciprocated the Indian decision for granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan so far, is all set to change its stance over the issue against the removal of Delhi’s objection over European Union’s unilateral trade concession to Pakistan at World Trade Organization. Pakistan will also raise the issue of Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) with Indian government before granting the MFN status.
As Pakistan has already shown its desire to consider the Indian demand for granting it the status, the neighboring country is also likely to remove its objection over the trade facility for Pakistan in EU proposed after the devastative flood last year, sources told Profit.
As the country is again suffering from devastative rains and floods affecting million of people with huge damages to various crops this year, the Indian side is likely to approve the EU application for giving unilateral trade concession to Pakistan on 75 items for a limited period.
The status of negative and positive list for trade with India would be deleted after the change of MFN status being granted to the neighboring country this month while removing the existing ban on selected items for import from Delhi. At present, Pakistan has given access to 1,940 product lines on its positive list and has 12,000 on the negative list.
The expected development is likely to be observed during the visit of Federal Minister of Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahim’s to India on September 25th. The minister will also be heading a business delegation of over 60 members scheduled to visit the neighboring country from September 26 to 30, 2011. This, according to sources, will be the first meeting between the commerce ministers of the two countries after a three-year gap.
Makhdoom Amin Faheem will engage in high-level talks with his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma on taking bilateral trade and strategic economic cooperation to a new level, including working on easing visa restrictions for businessmen from both sides.
The six day visit has been arranged on the invitation of Mr Sharma and the fresh development was made possible after various secretary level talks were held in Islamabad and Delhi previously.
According to sources, the two countries are likely to announce the major developments in trade ties during the delegation’s visit.
During talks between the two sides, Pakistani officials would also demand the removal of technical difficulties in bilateral trade which are generally called NTBs as despite enjoying the MFN status given by Delhi, Islamabad has not benefited from the facility due to, non-tariff measures employed by the Indian Government at a multilateral level. The barriers are mostly concerned with the infrastructural issues at points of entry, bureaucratic and administrative mishandling, psychological barriers emanating from bilateral political issues, visa restrictions and surveillance of visitors to India, banking restrictions, investment restrictions and restrictive trade routes, which constitute the real Pakistan specific non – tariff barriers. The lack of banking facility is another major hurdle in the way of increasing trade between the two countries. Currently there is no direct banking arrangement between the two countries. The payments are made either by informal channels or through an international bank using third country banking channels. This increases costs due to additional service charges and longer time is consumed on such transactions.

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