India, Pakistan agree to open more trade routes


Just a day after opening a new integrated checkpost at the Attari border, India and Pakistan on Saturday said the countries were exploring the possibilities of opening more routes to deepen economic engagements. India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma and his Pakistani counterpart Amin Fahim directed officials to discuss possibilities of opening new routes and customs stations.
“The ministers expressed the wish that discussions may continue at the official level for possibilities of opening more land customs stations between both countries,” said a joint press statement issued by the two ministers.
“This would enhance greater economic engagement between business communities of both sides and deepen bilateral cooperation for mutual prosperity of their people,” it said.
Amin Fahim is on a three-day visit to India. This is his second visit to Delhi in the last seven months.
Addressing a joint press conference on Friday, Sharma had said India decided “in principle” to allow investments from Pakistan.
Pakistan is the only country from where foreign direct investment is not allowed into India.
The decision was taken at a delegation-level meeting held on Friday. This was the third bilateral meeting between the commerce ministers of India and Pakistan within less than seven months.
During the meeting, both sides expressed satisfaction at the joint and coordinated efforts made for making the new gates at the Attari Integrated Check Post functional for trade. The checkpost was opened on Friday.
“The new arrangements shall streamline movement of trucks across the border and significantly enhance the flow of trade through land route,” the joint statement said.
The Pakistani side said they have already built sufficient infrastructure at Wagah border and were clearing all the current cargo traffic.
On the issue of trade in petroleum products and electricity, the ministers expressed the desire that the officials concerned of both countries should fast track the ongoing process.
It was also noted that the respective central banks were examining issues relating to opening of branches of banks of both countries.
According to the joint statement, the two countries are likely to take a decision at forthcoming home secretary-level talks on liberalisation of grant of business visa.
“The ministers expressed their joint wish that business visa regime needs to be liberalised at the earliest,” it said.
India is also expecting signing of a liberal bilateral visa norm agreement with Pakistan soon after the Pakistan government approves it, media reports said.


Comments are closed.