Normal trade with Pak depends on getting MFN status: India


Progress in normalisation of bilateral trade with Pakistan will depend on its decision to grant most favoured nation status to India, the government said in the Lok Sabha Friday.

Pakistan has “unfortunately” failed to give MFN status to India, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman said.

India granted the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. “Progress in trade normalisation would depend on the decision taken by Pakistan with regard to granting MFN status to India,” the minister said during Question Hour. According to the minister, if the MFN status is granted to India by Pakistan, it will facilitate direct bilateral trade and lead to “economic gains for both countries”.

Expressing hope that something would happen, Sitharaman, however, said there were no specific talks being held on trade facilitation between the two countries.

At the moment nothing specific is happening, she said. During the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in May this year, it was stated that the two sides “could move immediately towards full trade normalisation on the basis of the September 2012 road map worked out between the commerce secretaries of both the countries,” Sitharaman said.

In January this year, during the meeting of commerce ministries of both sides, they re-affirmed the commitment of the two governments to expeditiously establish normal trading relations and also provide Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to India.

In September 2012, it was agreed that Pakistan would transition fully to MFN (non-discriminatory) status to India by December that year. However, Pakistan did not adhere to the timelines, she added.