Will discuss granting ‘most favoured nation’ status to India

The first meeting of the Indo-Pakistan Joint Business Council to be held in Islamabad on June 29 will have on its agenda discussions relating to grant of MFN (most favoured nation) status to India, import of petrochemicals and petroleum products, the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline project, and co-operation in infrastructure and information technology (IT).

In the backdrop of the establishment of a new democratic government in Pakistan, which has sent positive signals for improving relations with India, issues such as enhanced air and rail connectivity, a relaxed visa regime, and the creation of banking channels would also figure in the discussions. It is understood that the meeting will seek to lay down a roadmap for giving a push to economic engagement and further normalise trade relations between the two neighbours.

The issue of Pakistan increasing the list of items that could be traded through the land route, as promised way back in April 2012, will also figure in the talks. At present, 132 items could be traded through the road route at Wagah, and India and the business community from Pakistan are strongly pitching for increasing this limit substantially.

Delegation

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will represent Indian industry in the Council which consists of 15 representatives from the two countries. The Indian delegation will be headed by Sunil K. Munjal. The Pakistan delegation will be led by Syed Yawar Ali, Chairman of Nestle Pakistan Ltd. The Indian delegation is also expected to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his senior Cabinet colleagues.

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