Negative list for trade after further deliberations: Pak

Indicating a delay in giving a further boost to trade ties between India and Pakistan, Islamabad…

Indicating a delay in giving a further boost to trade ties between India and Pakistan, Islamabad on Tuesday said the promised shift to the more expansive system of negative list can be announced only after more consultations.

“The Cabinet considered and directed the ministry of commerce to consult all stakeholders before the preparation and finalisation of negative and positive lists for trade with India,” said a statement posted on the press information department of Pakistan, the equivalent of India?s PIB.

The move comes as a big disappointment to the Indian delegation, which is currently visiting Pakistan, as the new regime could could have led to lesser restrictions, thus giving an impetus to bilateral trade.

It?s understood that the latest move could lead to a further delay in the grant of the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to India.

It also comes as a retraction of the earlier promise made by the Pakistan government in November that it will announce a negative list in February and grant the MFN status to India before 2012-end.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Shahid Malik said the decision was just a matter of time and “will soon be taken”.

“The ongoing political developments may delay a decision, but it will eventually happen,” added Malik.

Reacting to the Pakistan cabinet’s decision, Ficci president RV Kanoria and CII president B Muthuraman expressed disappointment. However, they maintained that this wouldn?t hurt the goodwill between the business communities of the two nations.

Islamabad has agreed to consider the signing of cooperation in customs-related matters and mutual recognition of the Pakistan Standard and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).

An agreement on redressal of trade grievances is also on the cards.

Trade between the two nations stands at $2.7 billion, mainly in favour of India. It is expected to reach $10 billion. India’s commerce minister Anand Sharma said the day is not far when multiple visa entry will be a reality.

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First published on: 15-02-2012 at 02:21 IST