India asks Pakistan to expand free trade items list

April 12th, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) India has urged Pakistan to expand its list of items that can be freely traded under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta), Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said. “We have asked Pakistan to expand its positive list, which it has not done yet. If they do not do this then we will withdraw the benefits given to them,” Kamal Nath said Saturday here on the sidelines of a conference organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

“Pakistan has asked for more time and with the coming in of the new government there we hope to see some changes,” the minister added.

Seven south Asian countries - India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives - signed the Safta agreement in January 2004 to boost trade and investment in the region.

Intra-regional trade amongst the countries currently stands at $20 billion and the member countries plan to take it up to about $40 billion by 2011-13 by expanding the number of items traded.

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