Pakistan may accord MFN status to India later this month: Rao


Pakistan is most likely to announce the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India before the Annual Partnership Summit later this month said Indian Commerce Secretary SR Rao.
Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Secretary Munir Qureshi are scheduled to visit India to participate in the three-day Summit in Agra, beginning January 27. Ministers and officials from several countries are also expected to attend the annual summit.
Indian Commerce Secretary SR Rao said there is “every likelihood” that Pakistan will make an announcement “by that time”. Rao’s comments were in response to a question forth by reporters asking when the neighbouring country is expected to accord the much-awaited MFN status to India. Pakistan has missed the deadline of December 31, 2012, for phasing out the negative list regime, which would technically mean automatic grant of MFN status. However, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani had on Friday said certain stakeholders in Pakistan had “some reservations” about giving MFN status to India and the issue will be discussed at an upcoming meeting between the sides.
Pakistan in March, 2012 had moved to a negative list regime for opening its market to trade for about 7,000 Indian goods against about 2,000 under the positive list. Under the negative list regime, India cannot export 1,209 items to Pakistan. Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had expressed hope in December last year that Pakistan would honour its assurance of granting MFN status to India. The bilateral trade between the countries stood at about USD 2 billion in 2011-12.
Rao also said during April-November 2012, Pakistan’s exports to India jumped by about 50 percent in a year-on-year comparison. Responding to reports about Pakistan refusing passage of Indian goods trucks at the line of control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, Rao said, “That was closed for some repairs I believe. It stands open as per our information”. He said that all land customs stations are open and trade is flowing as usual. “There are some infrastructure constraints on Pakistan’s side which they are trying to address,” he said, adding the Pakistan trade minister and the secretary “has assured us that they will take all possible steps in improving the infrastructure on their side”. “We have close to 60 land customs stations across our land border.


  1. Reminds me of the joke about elephant and mouse inquiring about each other's age while looking at their comparative sizes.

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