India says trade with Pakistan across Line of Control in final stages

January 3rd, 2008 - 3:00 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Benazir Bhutto
New Delhi, Jan 3 (ANI): Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh has said that India and Pakistan will soon finalise arrangements for trade across Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Basic agreement is done, both parties believe in the LoC trade, Ramesh told reporters.
He said both India and Pakistan have finalised the list of commodities and only endorsement is left.
He further said that Pakistan was facing difficulties in sending a delegation to India to further the talks due to the internal situation in the wake of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhuttos assassination.
I hope that they will send the delegation in another month or two, so that we can start LoC trade, which is very beneficial for Jammu and Kashmir,” said Ramesh.
He said on its part, India wants cross LoC trade with Pakistan to begin “immediately”.
The trade across the LoC is expected to be restricted to goods and commodities produced in Jammu and Kashmir. It would be exempt from duties as the two sides do not recognise the LoC as international border.
The neighbours opened a landmark bus service linking Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in April 2005 and have put forth proposals to open more road links across Kashmir.
Indian exports to Pakistan have doubled in fiscal 2006-07 (April to March) over the previous year and imports from across the border had grown by about 70 per cent during the same period.
Indian exports to Pakistan in 2006-07 stood at 1.35 billion dolars, while Pakistan exports to India over the same period were worth 323.19 million.
After two-day trade talks in New Delhi in August last year, the neighbours announced an ambitious goal to increase their trade by six times to 10 billion dollars by 2010. (ANI)

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