Pak may give MFN status to India soon

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Sep 30 2011, 07:23am hrs
Seeking to double the trade between the two nations, the commerce ministers of India and Pakistan on Thursday met to discuss several issues, including Pakistan giving India the status of Most Favored Nation (MFN), import of petroleum products, easing the visa restrictions for businessmen from both sides and the EU's preferential treatment to Pakistan's textiles in the wake of floods in Pakistan.

This is the first meeting between the trade and commerce ministers of the two countries after a three-year gap. Pakistan trade minister Makhdoom Muhammad Ameen Fahim, who is on a six-day visit to India, said that Pakistan would soon decide on the MFN status to India. "As discussed in the meeting of the secretaries in April this year, a decision on this will come very soon," Fahim said.

During the talks, India once again demanded a negative list that Pakistan gives to the other Non-Least Developed Countries (LDC) in the Saarc region. For India, Pakistan has given access to 1,940 product lines on its positive list and has 12,000 on the negative list. But half of the items on the positive list are neither exported nor imported by India. Sharma said that India is in talks with Pakistan to take up the issue of ending the non-tariff barriers (NTBs) which prevent many of Pakistani goods from entering India.