Pak council urges Zardari to grant India ‘most favoured nation’ status to spur trade

April 30th, 2011 - 5:12 pm ICT by ANI  

Islamabad, April 30(ANI): The Pakistan Business Council (PBC) has urged President Asif Ali Zardari to grant India the most favoured nation (MFN) status to enhance regional trade.

“The immediate implication of this is to allow trade with India based on the usual negative list (prohibiting trade in explosives, goods that pose risk to the environment and health etc.), rather than a positive list,” the Dawn quoted the PBC, a recently formed group of large enterprises, as saying.

“The MFN status to India must be accompanied by setting up a bilateral commission to address the issues that are closely tied up with India and Pakistan having a normal economic relationship that results in sustained benefits,” it added.

The PBC said that the maximum benefit from a more liberal trade regime with India would come from land routes that minimised response time to market forces.

It recommended that as many land routes as possible should be opened on the old road and railway networks all along the border from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea.

Earlier, major political parties of Pakistan gathered on a platform and agreed on a roadmap presented by the PBC for the revival of the country’s crippling economy by addressing key economic and social issues.

The council recommended trade with India, levying of tax on agricultural income, establishment of a Ministry of Energy and a national energy authority, imposition of property tax in major cities, more food subsidy for the poorest and revamping of the madressah education system.

Almost all major political parties of the country participated in the event, including the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-N, the PML-Q, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party.

“All political parties have a consensus that the time has come when they should sit together by burying their differences for revival of the economy,” PBC chairman Asad Umar said.

He said that the government was supportive to the PBC’s efforts for addressing key economic and social issues confronting the country and ensuring consistency in economic policies.

“We have presented our recommendations to President Asif Ali Zardari, who assured us that he will forward them to the government for implementation,” the PBC chairman said. (ANI)

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