India, Pakistan target doubled trade in three years

September 28th, 2011 - 9:37 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) India and Pakistan Wednesday set a target to expand trade to $6 billion in three years even as there were no progress on issues like granting most favoured nation (MFN) status to India and shifting from from a positive list to a negative list.

“We have agreed to jointly work to double bilateral trade within three years from current levels of $2.7 billion per annum to about $6 billion,” Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said after meeting his Pakistan counterpart Mohammad Amin Fahim.

Sharma said both countries were committed to liberalise trade regimes.

“India and Pakistan are entering a new phase of full normalisation of bilateral trade relations. This augurs well for enhancing mutual trust and understanding,” said Sharma, addressing a joint press conference with Fahim, who is on a five-day official visit to India.

However, there was little progress made on contentious issues like granting MFN status by Pakistan to India. India has already given it such status.

“We discussed everything. We are moving forward and I hope it (MFN) will be done as soon as possible,” Fahim said at joint briefing.

Fahim, who went to Mumbai first accompanied by a 70-member delegation, addressed businessmen from both countries at the Hotel Taj Mahal, which was targeted by Pakistani terrorists in November 2008, indicating an easing of ties which had plunged to a new low after the 26/11 carnage.

The first Pakistani minister to visit Mumbai after 26/11, Fahim also stressed on the role of trade in positively resolving other issues between trading partners.

As a way forward, commerce secretaries of both countries will meet in November to lay down specific timelines to normalise all trade relationships including dismantling of all non-tariff barriers.

Industry bodies of both countries have also been asked to increase interaction to facilitate trade and remove any hindrances.

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