Pakistan has failed to operationalise the bilateral trade pact that Trade Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan had jointly agreed with Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi in January.
Due to the delay on the Pakistani side Mr. Sharma has cancelled his visit to Lahore and Islamabad that was scheduled for this week. Mr. Sharma said on Wednesday that he will visit Pakistan only after the government there operationalises the trade-related decisions he had jointly taken with Mr. Khan last month in Delhi. "I don't want to land up there to find they have not moved forward on their commitments," Mr. Sharma said.
The proposals that were agreed between the two sides in Delhi are: 24/7-trade of all goods through Wagah-Attari border, dismantling of the negative list of 1,209 items and bringing down the sensitive list of items to 100 under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) over a period of five years; both to be done by Pakistan. India has already reduced its sensitive list of items to 614 and had agreed at the bilateral talks last month to further cut it to 100 in one year’s time.
At present, only 137 items can be traded through Attari- Wagah land border. If Pakistan eliminates the negative list, it would automatically lead to Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) for India. This is in lieu of the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status, a term Pakistan has said it is not in a position to use with regard to India.
In 2012-13, India-Pakistan bilateral trade was $2.6 billion, up from $1.9 billion in the previous year. India’s main exports to Pakistan include sugar, man-made filaments and chemicals, while its imports comprise mineral fuels, among others.
Keywords: India Pakistan bilateral trade, cross border trade, Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma, proposed Pakistan visit, Pakistan Trade Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan, MFN status, Most Favoured Nation trade agreement