Pakistan businesses want trade barriers to India cutDecember 7th, 2011 - 8:49 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 7 (IANS) Pakistan’s business leaders have called for minimisation of tariff and non-tariff barriers with India and treating it as a “routine trade partner.”
“India and Pakistan are keen to start new trade regime and minimise non-tariff barriers,” said Irfan Qaiser Sheikh, president of the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, here.
Sheikh is leading a business delegation to India. The delegation includes representatives from the textiles, fabrics, gems and jewellery, commercial banking and services sectors.
Sheikh, addressing an interactive session organised by the PHD Chamber here, said the objective of bringing the delegation was to explore new trade avenues between India and Pakistan.
Many important issues, including the need for a better mobile connectivity to improve communication for business and trade, relay of television channels and allowing Pakistani programmes to be telecast in India, opening up of bank branches on reciprocal basis, were discussed during a meeting of business leaders of the two countries, according to a statement released by PHD Chamber Wednesday.
India and Pakistan target to double their bilateral trade to $6 billion in the next three years from the current $2.7 billion.
Pakistan’s major exports to India include vegetables, fruits and nuts, cotton, mineral fuels, salt, lime and cement, but the value of these items contribute to a miniscule share of India’s total imports.
Sheikh said a major portion of these items was imported by India from other countries to meet its the requirements. He urged India to reduce informal trade with other countries, which would benefit in terms of cost as well as time.
“Pakistan would be keen to import dairy products, tea, dyeing extracts, chemical and rubber products from India,” Sheikh said.
Salil Bhandari, president of PHD Chamber, pointed out that the two countries enjoy cultural, social and economic similarities apart from geographical proximity, which can go a long way in strengthening bilateral economic relations.
“There is a need to reduce the trust deficit between the people of India and Pakistan,” he said.
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