Pakistan to introduce negative list trade regime with India

February 29th, 2012 - 9:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Yousuf Raza Gilani Islamabad/New Delhi, Feb 29 (IANS) Pakistan Wednesday said it will move from “positive list” to a short “negative list” trade regime with India, an important step towards granting the long-overdue most favoured nation (MFN) status and normalising trade relations across the border.

“In line with the WTO trading arrangement, the cabinet approved unanimously to move from positive to negative list of items for trade with India,” according to an official statement released by the Pakistani government.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani in Islamabad.

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

India welcomed the move, saying it will help normalise trade and economic relations.

“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,” Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said in a statement in New Delhi.

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

“We believe that strengthening economic engagement between India and Pakistan lies at the heart of building enduring peace and stability in this region. Flourishing trade is the biggest confidence building measure among any two nations,” Sharma said.

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