‘Small negative list can take India-Pakistan trade to $6 bn’

December 16th, 2011 - 12:09 am ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Dec 15 (IANS) A “small” negative list of trade items between India and Pakistan, likely to be effective in February 2012, can increase their bilateral trade to around $6 billion in a few years, according to a Pakistani industry chamber.

The volume of bilateral trade between the two countries stood at nearly $1.8 billion last year.

“Imports to Pakistan from India was $1,500 million and exports were around $273 million, thereby taking the volume of total trade to $1.8 billion last year. Once the short negative list comes into effect next year, it can take the bilateral trade to $6 billion in a few years,” Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Shiekh Nasiruddin told reporters here Thursday.

Nasiruddin was in the city for the launch of “International Mega Trade Fair”.

India can now export only 1,946 items to Pakistan from the 8,000 tradable goods between the two countries.

A negative list includes items which cannot be traded legally.

“While the legal trade is close to $1.8 billion, the volume of illegal trade is around $4 billion,” Nasiruddin said.

Once the negative list came into effect, it would also reduce the illegal border trade between the two countries, he added.

Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Muhammad Amin Fahim had visited India in September this year, when it was decided that in the first stage, Pakistan would move from the current ‘positive list’ approach to a ‘negative list’.

Thereafter, all items other than those on the negative list will be freely exportable from India to Pakistan.

The process of Pakistan granting MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status to India is likely to be completed by end of next year.

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