Sec-level talks: India may seek clarity on MFN

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Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood is ready to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Rahul Khullar in New Delhi as Pakistan and India are steadily improving their economic and political ties, Indian media reported on Saturday.
The two-day (commerce) secretary-level talks will officially start on Monday, where India will seek clarity on Pakistan’s decision to grant India the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status, The Hindu newspaper quoted official sources as saying.
On November 2, the cabinet in Islamabad had announced its decision to grant India the Most Favoured Nation, there was confusion thereafter. However, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and other senior ministers have since sought to clear the air, saying Islamabad was not backtracking on the MFN decision.
The ministers have been making statements that Pakistan wants to normalise its economic relations with India by removing the restrictions on the import of a large number of Indian goods into the Pakistani markets.
During his talks with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit at Addu in Maldives, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had offered to sign a Preferential Trade Agreement with Pakistan, committing to eliminate duties on all goods by 2016.
The Pakistan-India trade is a paltry $2.6 billion, though the third country-routed commerce is estimated at $10 billion. The two countries have been making efforts and right political gestures to their bilateral trade, the newspaper reported.
India has been backing the European Union proposal to grant special trade concessions to Pakistan where floods caused havoc to its economy last year. India had granted the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. The MFN is a World Trade Organisation rule under which countries are required to give equal treatment to their trading partners.

1 COMMENT

  1. That's a fair thing to ask for. But India should allow some wiggle-room too Pakistan. Because political situation is very hard for the civilian government in Pakistan on foreign policy and giving some extra room to Pakistan, in this case, does not materially effect India.

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