Speaking to FE, commerce ministry officials said that although it had learnt from sources that Pakistan had increased the number of items in its free list of imports from India, it had received no official intimation.
Interestingly, sources from the external ministry said that they had been informed by Pakistan of the expansion in the positive list. But no consultations on items to be included in the list took place.
Sources said that the expanded list does not include the products which India showed particular interest in. It is a decision which Pakistan has taken on its own. Therefore not much can be said on it, officials said.
Although, India had given Pakistan the most favoured nation (MFN) status way back in 1996, Pakistan is yet to reciprocate. Pakistan allows import of just 600 items from India to which it has now added 78 items. India, on the other hand, allows import of all items from Pakistan except for a small negative list of sensitive items which it does not import from any country.
Despite this, Indias exports to Pakistan is more than four times its imports. In 2002-03, India imported goods worth Rs 255.13 crore from Pakistan while its exports to the country stood at Rs 997.73 crore.
Officials said that Pakistans reluctance in granting MFN status to India was against World Trade Organisation rules which stipulates that all members should offer the status to each other. Pakistan, however, does not seem to be in a hurry to offer MFN treatment to India.
In fact, Pakistani commerce minister Humayun Akhtar Khan had earlier maintained that the awarding of the MFN status to India should follow a settlement on Kashmir or at least serious discussions on the issue.