New Delhi, 15 November
Pitching for Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status for India, Pakistani business community today said every effort, including a liberalised visa regime, should be initiated to boost bilateral trade.
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Zubair Ahmed Malik also said that the negative list should also be pruned to boost bilateral trade with India.
“MFN status must be given to India. This is what I am urging to our government. We want to see the trade flourish between the two countries and it can flourish if there is free movement of people and for that visa regime should be eased by both the governments,” Mr Malik said here at a Ficci function. Mr Malik is here with a business delegation to participate in the India International Trade Fair (IITF).
“We forget our neighbours and think of increasing trade with Brazil and China…start thinking out of the box. Lets ease out the restrictions,” he said.
Pakistan had already missed the 31 December 2012 deadline for phasing out its negative list regime for trade and giving MFN status to India.
India has granted this status to the neighbouring country way back in 1996.
Mr Naeem Anwar, minister -trade, High Commission of Pakistan, said that deadline for issuing the status to India was missed as concerns were raised by certain sectors like pharmaceutical.
He, however, added Pakistan has completed the consultation process with those sectors and hopes that soon negotiations will start again on the matter.
He said elimination of negative list would help in enhancing economic ties as huge trade potential exists between both the countries.
Mr Anwar also said there is a potential to open other points as well besides Wagah-Attari for trade purpose.
“Other points should also be opened for trade. New points will help in boosting trade,” he said, adding: “We should not do trade from third countries”. He too reiterated for liberalised visa regime.