Dar stresses level playing field for trade with India

Favours raw material imports, Expects 6-7 growth rate in 3 years
Ali Syed/ Sharafat Kazmi

Friday, February 28, 2014 – Islamabad—The trade with India is in favour of Pakistan and its economy, but the question is how and when talks on trade liberalization should be started with functionaries of India.

This was discussed at length in the meeting of senior officials here on Thursday with Finance Minister Mr Ishaq Dar in the chair.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Foreign Affairs, Mr. Tariq Fatmi, Chairman FBR, Tariq Bajwa, Mr. Zafar Mehmood former Secretary Commerce, Chairman Nestle Pakistan, Syed Yawar Ali, Advisor to Finance Ministry, Rana Asad Amin and senior officials of the concerned ministries also attended the Committee meeting.

Secretary Commerce, Mr. Qasim Muhammad Niaz gave a detailed presentation on the broader framework of the roadmap to move ahead on non-discriminatory market access for Pakistan’s exports to India. Commerce Minister, Mr. Khurram Dastagir Khan also sensitized the participants about the pros and cons of the trade with India.

There was one view point in the meeting that Pakistan should initiate the talks on trade liberalization with India after the elections in India and new government gets installed at New Dehli, but the dominant view was that that this is the proper time to initiate the talks for trade liberalization as it is being presumed that India may have coalition led government after elections which will be weaker enough not to take bold decision in terms of trade between Pakistan and India

However, according to an official, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar came up with the desire to import the raw material from India now being imported from other distant countries. “India is our immediate neighbouring country and Pakistani business tycoons can benefit a lot by importing the raw material from India for various products in Pakistan and because of short distance the cost of raw material will not only be reduced, but the costly foreign reverses would also be saved whish are wasted by importing raw materials from other countries because of the long sea routes.

In the meeting it was also decided that the import of medicines from India will not be allowed as it will injure pharmaceutical industry in Pakistan. However, Pharmaceutical Industry will be allowed to import raw material from India to make their products. Likewise the problems of Pakistan agriculture sector were also discussed in the meeting as India is heavily providing the subsidy to its farmers.

In the meeting Dar said that India needs to do way with all non-tariff barriers and all impediments which retard export of Pakistan products in India market. He said India needs to take visible steps in this regard so that level playing field could be ensured for trade as India’s tariff regime is highly restrictive whereas Pakistan trade regime is highly liberalized. In the meeting, Ministry of Commerce was asked to prepare a report in the light of the discussion which will later be tabled in the federal cabinet to make the strategy prior to initiating talks with India on trade liberalization.

Earlier, Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar in a meeting with delegation of international businessmen and investors accompanied by Special Envoy to PM for Overseas Investment, Ambassador Javed Malik at the Ministry of Finance on Thursday said the economy of Pakistan is showing positive signs due to structural reforms introduced by the present Government and we have a very clear roadmap to facilitate Foreign Direct Investment in the country.

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