India welcomes Pakistan’s move towards MFN

March 1st, 2012 - 8:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) India Thursday welcomed Pakistan’s decision to move from the “positive list” to a short “negative list,” a key step towards towards granting most favoured nation (MFN) status and normalising trade relations across the border.

“Pakistan is moving in the right direction in terms of bringing economic content into the political relationship,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna told reporters here. “This would certainly help strengthen our bilateral ties.”

A cabinet meeting chaired by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad Wednesday unanimously approved the move from positive to negative list of items for trade with India.

“The cabinet also decided in principle to phase out the negative list between Pakistan and India by Dec 20. After that, the process of trade normalisation between the two countries will be completed,” a statement from the Pakistani government said.

The move will substantially increase the number of items to be traded between the two countries. Currently, Pakistan maintains a “positive list” of 1,945 items which are allowed to be imported from India.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma also welcomed the move. “During my visit to Pakistan earlier this month, Prime Minister Gilani and Trade Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim had assured me that a final decision in the matter would be taken by end-February and I am happy that this has been achieved,” Sharma said.

Sharma, accompanied by the largest-ever business delegation, visited Pakistan Feb 13-16.

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